Big Ones

My 75-gigabyte music dump to Amazon's new Cloud Drive music storage and playback service is chugging along quite nicely, so it's with a furrowed brow that I read that Amazon's apparently pissed off the music industry in the process.

See, apparently the music industry believes that Amazon needs a license to allow me to stream my music -- my (mostly) legally obtained music -- from its cloud to my devices. I can take said music and stream it from my laptop to my Xbox 360, or put it on a microSD card and pump it through a phone or six, or put it on a flash drive and play it in my car. But, apparently, Amazon needs a license. And apparently it didn't get one.

According to a Reuters story, the music industry has its knickers in a twist because Amazon went ahead and launched the service while still in talks for licensing fees -- something neither Google nor Apple has had the chutzpah to do. And you know what? Good for Amazon. The music industry has been killing itself far too slowly.

Of course, this could mean that Amazon's service could be shut down, or Amazon might have to pay out the wazoo, or we could all be forced to pay more for the storage space. (And I'm willing to bet Google's going to give more than 5GB free.) We'll just have to see. In the meantime, stream away, folks. Stream away. [Reuters/Yahoo via TiPb]


Reader comments

Amazon Cloud Music apparently launched without record labels' blessing


So if I don't like some policy Walmart decides to enforce, I should just steal from their store. If you hate the record labels, just don't get music from them. Stealing is Stealing, just because digital stealing is easier doesn't make it more justified.

No argument that stealing is stealing, but when I buy something from Walmart, they don't tell me I can only use it in one place and if I want to use it somewhere else, I should buy a second copy of said item. When you treat honest people like criminals, they tend to act like criminals.

The Music Industry????....Oh, you mean Apple and their endless political kiss a$$ supporters. Hold strong Amazon, Proud of Ya'!

Oh please. It's people like you that make me ashamed to be a Google fanboy. If it wasn't for Apple, do you realize we wouldn't be where we are? There is such thing as the Music Industry, and it ISN'T controlled by Apple. It's controlled by pompous penny pinching greedy men. And they want all the money to themselves. That's why the industry is dying. That's why so many people illegally download. That's why Amazon decided to sock it to them and release early. So take Apple off the pedestal, and realize there is much more in play here than just Apple vs. Google.

ummm...Do you honestly believe that this would be as big of issue if Apple was the first to the cloud scene? Give me a break!!! The Media would be praising Apple as innovative. Just another reason to drive the stock price higher. REAL LIFE FOLKS!!!!

The fact is that this 'is' a war between competitors. Thats what business is...Its going to be a big fight bringing down the current giant Fruit.

What does this have to do with Apple? Can we have one freakin' story where the comments don't turn into Android fanboys bashing Apple, or Apple fanboys bashing Android?

Don't forget that Apple is the reason Amazon couldn't keep all the Kindle pricing at $9.99. They came in and allowed the publishers to charge them more. Apple created an uncompetitive (read anti-consumer) eBook market. Now they are getting the tables turned on them. Good for you Amazon!

This is Bullshit. Please pardn my french but I have to call it like I see it. Amazon needs no license because they are providing online cloud storage space. If users are using it go stream their own legally obtained music across different platforms, thats got nothing to do with the record companies because the music has already been purhased.

Now, if the music was obtained illegally, it still wouldn't matter. Thats not amazon's fault. The ccompanies would have to sue every Online data storage provider, remote pc software maker, mp3 player manufacturer, CD, DVD, and bluray manufacturer, smartphone (and dumbphone maker) and of course, PC manufacturer.

Completely agree. Honestly, I think at this point we should all (and by all I mean like everyone who ever download music and resides in US and/or Canada) just sue the music industry, for BS litigation, emotional damage (all this BS is really getting to me) and whatever other BS we can come up with.

I've been using SugarSync to stream my music collection for a couple months now. I doubt they have a license...

Props to Amazon for bucking the trend toward the permission culture where no one does anything without getting consent from on high. The recording industry needs to learn that democracy belongs to We the People and the corporations are here to serve us.

Thanks to Audiogalaxy I don't even need to mess with uploading to Amazon's (possibly temporary) cloud service.

I used Audiogalaxy too...but I tested the Amazon Cloud service today compared to Audiogalaxy, and Amazon's option streams better over 3g than Audiogalaxy...(at least for me it did)...but I'd think Audiogalaxy would have the same issue regarding licensing.

I also subscribe(d) to Zumo drive's $2.99/mo 10gb plan...and had some of my music on it...then realized if you buy any album on Amazon, they give you 20gb access for a year free, so I bought a $5 album of my liking.... and Zumodrive downgraded to free basic!

I don't know how much of my music is "legal" anymore. I had alot of CDs years ago that I burned to my Computer. Iv lost some of it on my PC over time came back latter, couldent find it so I just downloaded it again. Also times where I wanted an album but didn't want to pay $13 for it so I got it from a buddies music backup server. I guarantee you I am not the only person that does this and anymore it is very hard to say who ACTUALLY bought a particular CD or not.Music company needs to get over it . I see no reason they need a "license" to let people stream their music. How is that Music industry turf anyways, its not!! SCREW EM!

Props to Amazon for bucking the trend toward the permission culture where no one does anything without getting consent from on high. The recording industry needs to learn that democracy belongs to We the People and the corporations are here to serve us.

I was getting a network error on my evo this morning on 3g. Worked on wifi and 4g. Eventually it worked on 3g. Just give it some time.

Is this news related to my songs not downloading on to my Amazon cloud account through Amazon's MP3 Uploader? Did the music industry call for some sort of moratorium on this service or am I just having technical difficulties? Is anyone else having issues?

Update: No legal related issue. Resoled the technical issue.

Whats wrong with External hard drives ?
They even have a Wi-Fi on em (at least Western Digitals have it) so u can stream em any time you want through Wi-Fi & they are allot bigger than 5GB or what ever
Call me ol' school , but I don't trust cloud services (no manner who provides it , Apple , Google , Amazon ...)
I rather have it my computer\iPod near by , plus streaming media gonna cost money (on 3G networks) , so if you are limited or don't have intrent plan , you are ¤#&$-%

What makes this BS is that assuming legally obtained music, they've already been paid. This is STORAGE. And even if it isn't legally obtained music, they still can't go after the storage medium. To put it in 1995 terms that hopefully will make sense if any record company executives are reading this, what they're asking is for us to not only buy a CD, but to also pay them a license fee for the bookshelf we plan to store the CD on.

I don't see that as relevant. My point is that if that music has been purchased, the industry has no right to ask for additional payment to allow us to store the file in a way that makes it accessible. And if it hasn't been paid for, it's not Amazon's fault any more than it is Apple's for making the iPod you put it on, or Western Digital for making the hard drive you store it on.

From Michael Robertson's email today

In a bold move that will influence Apple and Google and impact billions in future cloud licensing to record labels, Amazon has unveiled a cloud music service almost daring the record labels to protest. Their service competes directly with my company MP3tunes, but that's not the big news here. Waiting on the sideline is Apple and Google watching how the labels will respond. If the labels do nothing then Apple and Google will see a clear path to their own service without entering a license.

Let's quickly review Amazon's service. If you use MP3tunes you're already familiar with what Amazon offers because it looks just like version 1.0 we launched several years back. It offers a basic uploading program to store all of your music online and then play it back using your web browser. They also offer an Android client to playback your music. Missing is support for Apple's iPhone, auto-syncing with iTunes, internet radio support (like those from Logitech), an API for developers to build support on, international support, etc - all of which MP3tunes has, but again that's not the big story.
The response by the labels to Amazon's service will influence what Google and Apple do. Labels have consistently pressured net companies to enter into licenses with them before launching a cloud music offering. When MP3tunes' launched a service without a license EMI sued us even though we have strict rules about personal use. (A case on which we're awaiting a verdict.) Amazon's launch raises the stakes because of their size and userbase they can touch and the fact that it's no secret Apple and Google are devising their own cloud strategies.

Amazon does have a license to sell songs, but no license for a cloud service. Presumably Amazon shares MP3tunes' view that users have the right to upload their music to enable anywhere listening. If Amazon can launch an unlicensed service without any repercussions paying the record labels no money then what motivation would there be for Google or Apple to enter into a license? Any such license would have substantial economic payments and usage restrictions so Apple and Google would be at a substantial disadvantage to Amazon.
There's also a subtle but important change Amazon has implemented with their store which gives them an advantage over Apple. Until today, buyers at the top US music stores get exactly one download per purchase. Music retailers like Apple and Napster would like to allow multiple downloads per purchase or even better put purchases into cloud storage for unlimited downloads, but their contracts do not permit it. With Amazon's new service however purchases go directly into a locker from which they can be repeatedly downloaded or played from the cloud. Amazon is likely defying terms of their retailer license. (MP3tunes' has this functionality as well called Express Listening but retailers were reluctant to support it because of fear of record label retaliation.)

If Amazon can make music, including purchases, listenable everywhere without paying the major labels or publishers then Apple and Google must do the same. In business it's important that your competitor not have a cost advantage. To put this another way, Google and Apple can't pay costs that Amazon doesn't have and still be competitively priced. It's no secret the record labels are expecting substantial payments for a cloud service. In addition they impose huge restrictions on consumers including what type of devices they can access from, how many devices, what regions it work in, reporting rules and more. Why would Apple deal with those issues to enable streaming to iPad/iPhone if they could avoid them?

I must admit, it's great to have a giant corporate ally in the battle against the record labels that are fighting against user's storing their personal music libraries online. Amazon's effort is solid, but MP3tunes is superior in nearly every aspect. (We better be, we've been doing this for years.) If you've yet to try a personal cloud service then try MP3tunes' because it's truly the industry leader. Here's a list of features with MP3tunes that Amazon can't match.
• Support for iPhones, iPods
• Support Windows7, WebOS
• Support for any music store including iTunes, Napster and Zune
• Optimized playback for mobile (smaller files)
• Listen to your music on more than 50+ radios (without a PC!)
• Auto-sync so your music collection is always in sync
• Sync your entire collection down to a PC for offline playback

Try MP3tunes and let me know how it works for you.

MP3tunes = 2gb free & can't directly sell music
Amazon = 5gb free & can directly sell music

...and didn't they get busted for illegal music sharing or am I thinking of someone else?

Here come the judge! The record industry judge that is. The former RIAA head lawyer just got appointed to the federal Judiciary. Can you guess who he is gonna look out for? The big, greedy record companies and their mega billions in bank accts. This industry killed itself when they chose to attack their own customer with Napster. The whole idea that the record company should get paid everytime you want to listen to music, reguardless of how you obtained it, is patently absurd. I got no problem with artists being paid for their work. But I'm not about to pay John Grisham everytime i read one of his books after I bought it! What the music industry thinks they can get away with it is tanamount to holding my wallet when I turn on the radio listen to a cd. This industry should hurry up & kill itself so people can enjoy their entertainment again.

Clouds are for the birds... I'm a proud user of Subsonic. I have full access to all of my music AND videos.

Been using it for about 8 months now and it's great.

Basically I agree with you that wasting bandwidth to stream music that could just as well be stored on the device is a poor use of increasingly stressed infrastructure and scarce radio waves.

That being said, I have to cheer Amazon for pushing the envelope so that these capabilities can have all the legal issues solved by the time LTE becomes widely deployed.

Good God!!!!! Someone needs to tighten the reigns on these retards(record labels).

It's exactly like good year trying to tell walmart that they are not allowed to let you drive on their parking lot with your new white wall radials.

Come on !!!!!!!

Well I will continue to enjoy the service and my guess is that something will get worked out without messing with us end users.

The music industry and hollywood are just greedy people. I have paid for every song I have uploading to the Amazon Cloud Player and they want Aamazon to pay licensing for that? For music that I already PAID the industry for? Go pound sand you greedy ba$t@rds.

My biggest fear here is that music companies might consider this a breach and pull their support of and supply to Amazon MP3 sales. I don't want to find myself buying off iTunes because AMP3 no longer sells tunes from major labels.

That said, I'm all for being able to stream music that I've legitimately paid for. All my music is either legitimately purchased off AMP3 or ripped off CDs I own, and I don't see why I or Amazon should need to pay the music company a second time for that music.

Dear Music Industry:

What I do with my property (You know, those songs I bought) is none of your business.


I guess I don't understand what's going on here.

I purchased all of my music on CDs in the eighties through the nineties. The only warning I was given and agreed to (by opening the package) was that I wasn't allowed to make copies of the CD to provide to someone else. Continuing to play the music did not subject me to sny additional agreements imposed by the record companies.

The conditions I agreed to included the ability to back up my disc to another medium. That backup may only be used by me. Well, I am now backing up my disks, as permitted, on the cloud. I'm the only person who can play those backups, so I'm not sharing my music with anyone.

The music industry can (and probably has) add verbiage to their agreement, which they enter into with current buyers, that says you can't copy the media to anything, anywhere, ever. Well, that's fine with me. I don't buy new music as I'm a curmudgeon stuck in another era. But what they seem to want to do is to impose a new, more restrictive license agreement upon me without my consent. That can't be legal. I've paid my license fee for the right to use this copyrighted material. And I'm using it legally...