Amazon Cloud Player now matches iTunes purchases and CD rips

Amazon Cloud Player has been updated with a bunch of new features, including some hefty new licensing deals with Sony, EMI, Universal, and Warner to beef up their music selection for sale. There's also some new ways to make sure all of the music on your computer is in line with what's being stored in the cloud, namely that 250 of your songs (even ripped or purchased iTunes music) is automatically added from Amazon in 256 Kbps audio. 

  • Amazon MP3 purchases — including music that customers purchased in the past — are automatically saved to Cloud Player, which means that customers have a secure backup copy of the music they buy from Amazon, free of charge.
  • Amazon scans customers’ iTunes and Windows Media Player libraries and matches the songs on their computers to Amazon’s 20 million song catalog.  All matched songs – even music purchased from iTunes or ripped from CDs – are instantly made available in Cloud Player and are upgraded for free to high-quality 256 Kbps audio.  Music that customers have already uploaded to Cloud Player also will be upgraded.
  • Any customer with a Kindle Fire, Android device, iPhone, iPod touch, or any web browser —and soon, a Roku streaming player or Sonos home entertainment system — can play their music anywhere.

Soon, Amazon Cloud users will be able to access their remote libraries through Sonos and Roku boxes too - a palatable option for real music junkies. Currently, Amazon Cloud offers 5 GB of free storage with plenty more available for $24.99 annually. Of course, any music you buy on Amazon doesn't count towards your storage limit, which is a nice touch. A significant change starting today is that Amazon Cloud Player and Cloud Drive will be separate storage bins and have their own subscription fees. That's not so great news for those that use the service for both tunes as well as documents, though they've lowered the Cloud Drive price to $10/year for 20 GB.  

You can get more information about signing up here, but us international folks are out of luck on this one, unfortunately. How many of y'all are already Amazon Cloud Player users? Are you happy with the experience, or is Google Music doing the job for you just fine? Would these new features get you to switch?

 
There are 23 comments

dskwerl says:

This is pretty cool, as I have an iTunes gift card that I got for Christmas a long time ago that I've never used, because I refuse to use iTunes. So maybe now I can use it, and then move it over to Amazon.

Same here. I couldn't bring myself to buy anything of itunes. Pay $4.99 for an album on Amazon and have the ability to use it on my computer and phone (and soon Sonos).... or pay $9.99 for the same album on itunes and be forced to use that crappy program.

ThreeofNine says:

You missed the part that the free cloud player will ONLY ALLOW 250 songs.

"Cloud Player Free is Now Limited to 250 Imported Songs

Your Cloud Player Free account has more than 250 imported songs. Amazon MP3 purchases do not count toward this limit. You will get a 30-day free upgrade to Cloud Player Premium, including upgrade of matched music files to 256 Kbps audio. Within the next 30 days, you should either:

-Subscribe to Cloud Player Premium for $24.99/year and import up to 250,000 songs, or
-Continue with Cloud Player Free by deleting songs from your 'Imported' playlist until it is below the 250 song limit.
At the end of the 30-day free upgrade, if you have more than 250 imported songs in Cloud Player, you will not be able to play your previously imported music in Cloud Player − but you can start fresh and re-import up to 250 songs. Music you imported before the 30-day free upgrade will remain stored in Cloud Drive.

Learn more

Click Continue to begin your 30 days of Cloud Player Premium for free and to upgrade your music files to 256 Kbps audio quality."

MrJedi says:

It is a nice feature, but in my case upgrade would actually be downgrade to 256. For that reason If a song is available on Google Play and Amazon only I go with Google because they publish their bit rates. I have tried to keep my entire music collection at 320kbps. Because of that, it is allows obvious when a song comes on during a party that is at a lower bitrate. People think I turned the volume down, or worse on crappily mixed songs like Hum's "Stars" people think I turned it off.

It seems like really this is directed more at iTunes users than those of us that ripped our own cds.

testingapril says:

Volume and bitrate have nothing to do with each other. You should read up on mp3 volume equalizers. You might be able to find a solution there.

Impulses says:

Those big volume shifts or differences in gain has nothing to do with bitrate and everything to do with the original recording/master. Further, VBR is actually a very good thing, it allows the song to go higher when needed and lower when there's not much going on. Amazon actually still uses VBR AFAIK and any mention of rate is just the average they aim for (which isn't even accurate anyway).

I can guarantee you that unless you're throwing a party for 20 concertpianists with a golden ear, most people wouldn't really be able to tell the difference between any properly encoded VBR file (unless the average is set super low) and a FLAC, specially when listened to as background music. Plenty of past blind tests back that up. The only real reason to want super high bitrate or lossless originals is for archiving and re-mastering purposes.

Simon Sage says:

Thanks, fixed. 

Small_law says:

So when I try to download just one song, the app now downloads every song file I've bought in the past three years. Any way to Just download your most recent purchase?

testingapril says:

This article is both confusing and misleading when it comes to the pricing model. If you go to the amazon page "manage your cloud subscriptions" it's very easy to see what your options are, and there are free options for both files and music (5GB files, 250 imported songs, unlimited amazon songs).

icebike says:

Its not that confusing.

Google 20,000 songs and 320kbitrate.
Amazon 250 sings and 254kbitrate

jbuggydroid says:

I still have unlimited mp3 cloud storage on Amazon. They upgraded me to that for free after a month when they first launched the service. has far as I know I still have that. Is any body else in the same boat as me?

brshout says:

Still with unlimited here as well. I purchase a lot from Amazon anyways. Had unlimited since they began their cloud service. Upgraded to unlimited after purchasing a full album... But that was early on. Not sure if that deal still exists.

leaponover says:

Nope, I got unlimited after taking advantage of that deal when purchasing an album.. now I am getting:

You will receive Cloud Player Premium for the next 30 days at no additional cost, including upgrade of matched music files to 256 Kbps audio. Within the next 30 days, you should either:

Subscribe to Cloud Player Premium for $24.99/year and import up to 250,000 songs, or
Continue with Cloud Player Free by deleting songs from your 'Imported' playlist until it is below the 250 song limit. Amazon MP3 purchases do not count toward this limit.
At the end of the 30-days, if you have more than 250 imported songs in Cloud Player, you will not be able to play your previously imported music in Cloud Player − but you can start fresh and re-import up to 250 songs. Music you imported before the 30-day free upgrade will remain stored in Cloud Drive.

Learn more

Click Continue to begin your 30 days of Cloud Player Premium for free and to upgrade your music files to 256 Kbps audio quality.

So apparently that unlimited bonus has disappeared. I remember them saying it was only for a year anyway which is almost up, but still it's a bit deceitful.

Impulses says:

The original promo was for 20GB music storage (uploads) for a year, awarded if you bought any full album (even if it cost just a buck). Eventually they changed it to unlimited music storage (again, uploads, Amazon purchases are always stored free) and 20GB for other data.

Either way it was always advertised as a one year offer. If you went into your account at any point you could check when it was up and/or renew for $20/year. They've raised the price a bit now because it's suddenly $25, but they also raised the non-music storage up to 50GB and they're honoring previous upgrades (so those that had already set it to renew for $20 are good to go).

It's actually very reasonable IMO, I'll probably renew even tho I have a free Skydrive account with 25GB and a free Dropbox account with 44GB atm (22 of those GB will go poof in two years tho since they're from the HTC promo). I actually prefer Amazon to Google Music... They've got a larger music library that includes all major labels and some foreign stuff, and they make it easy easier than Google to re-download your stuff to any device.

The new matching is a nice bonus tho it might be a slight downgrade in quality for some of my rips, I backup my stuff locally anyway (and to a drive i store off site ever so often) so it's not a big deal. Being able to easily re download any song in my collection from any device any time is pretty convenient anyway.

Glenuendo says:

There was a new update for the app in Google Play but when I go to update it, it says invalid package after downloading. That kinda sucks.

mchan1 says:

If Amazon would now Update their Cloud player which, IMO, really SUX!

Functionality is almost NON-existant as in editing features and download ability is CR@P in that you still must use Amazon's download software!

Worse, Amazon STILL makes music @256k instead of @320K in addition to using VBR which sometimes plays at LESS than @256k making playback WORSE!

It's any wonder why people like self make ANY online purchases at all.

WHY the Fudge do people NOT care about music quality when you can definitely Hear the different on a (portable) player with Good earphones?!

Those online services will ONLY cater to the general public which buys the bulk of the music online so it doesn't matter anyway for music lovers. As long as the general public pays, the music industry and online purveyors like Amazon will flourish.

It's any wonder why there's STILL so much people sharing music at better quality bitrates (320k/FLAC) who DON'T buy online music in addition to those, like self, who still buys CDs and rip music ourselves instead of listening/buying the garbage that's offered online.

dextorboot says:

I haven't worked out the math yet but I'm almost certain this is LESS space for music than it was before. Most of my non-Amazon music is at 256, 320 or V0. At those rates I could've uploaded more than 250 individual songs before reaching the old 5GB limit. Guess I need to check it out when I get home.

EDIT: Checked out my plan online and I'm already a couple of hundred over the 250.

Woohoo! Yes, BYE BYE ITUNES. This is one of the remaining things that was holding me back from going full-on Android. I have about 21000 songs and bad broadband so uploading all of them would've taken months. As it was, iTunes Match still took about 3 weeks only uploading about half of them.

Plus Amazon's given me a free month of Premium since I had the promotional plan from a year ago. And the $25 Premium plan also includes a 50GB cloud drive.

ThreeofNine says:

But that's $25 per year every year (until it's increased) Plus the "free Trial" ends in 30 days then all of your music is gone from the cloud unless you you pay the $25.00

I've got no problem with paying $25/year to know I have a safe (and upgraded) backup of my music collection. Especially since it includes a 50GB cloud drive as well.

crxssi says:

>"Would these new features get you to switch?"

Nope.

I have absolutely no interest in "cloud playing". I have my music on local devices/storage in the format and quality I want, tagged the way I want, available to me 24/7, run through volume adjustments, requires no authorization, no login, no network access, and no bandwidth. And since the entire collection is on multiple devices, I have multiple backups.

coachdvc says:

I've been happy with the Amazon Cloud Player (got in at the beginning with unlimited storage) and just recently uploaded over 4000 songs because I was getting a new desktop and didn't want to transfer everything to it.

I don't really mind paying $25/year, but I really like the idea of getting all of my songs over to Google Play. How can I transfer songs from Amazon Cloud Player to Google Play? Thanks!

tdi1985 says:

I use the cloud player and really like it. A little disturbed by the changes though, I just logged in and got the message below. Will probably stop using it at this point, OR just keep it to more of a "playlist" than try to have my entire library. Will not pay $25 to use the service.

Message:
Your Cloud Player Free account has more than 250 imported songs. Amazon MP3 purchases do not count toward this limit. You will get a 30-day free upgrade to Cloud Player Premium, including upgrade of matched music files to 256 Kbps audio. Within the next 30 days, you should either:

•Subscribe to Cloud Player Premium for $24.99/year and import up to 250,000 songs, or
•Continue with Cloud Player Free by deleting songs from your 'Imported' playlist until it is below the 250 song limit.
At the end of the 30-day free upgrade, if you have more than 250 imported songs in Cloud Player, you will not be able to play your previously imported music in Cloud Player − but you can start fresh and re-import up to 250 songs. Music you imported before the 30-day free upgrade will remain stored in Cloud Drive.