Amazon opens music locker in the cloud

The Amazon homepage appears on a screen in Washington on September 3, 2010.

Kai Ryssdal: Amazon.com started as an online bookstore lo these many years ago. Now it sells basically anything you can think of ordering online, and lately the company's been signaling it wants to be even more. And especially, it really wants to be like Apple.

Last week, Amazon launched its own app store for smartphones that run on Google's Android platform. Today it announced Cloud Drive. It'll let you upload your music to Amazon's servers so you can then stream those tunes to any computer or Android phone any place.

Our senior business correspondent Bob Moon reports Amazon is the first big player in what could be the next big thing.


Bob Moon: "Cloud" computing has been widely hailed as the way we'll stay connected to our data in the future. Essentially, it's storing your music, personal videos, pictures and other files in a remote "locker" of sorts that gives you access to what you want from just about anywhere.

Now when it comes to online music sales, Apple's iTunes remains king. But Amazon is hoping its offer of remote storage will be a game-changer.

Scott Stein is an associate editor at CNET. He says Amazon seems to be positioning itself to take on Apple as a one-stop shop, competing in the marketplace currently dominated by the iPhone and iPad.

Scott Stein: They almost have everything but a tablet at this point. They have e-books that a lot of people already use with the Kindle. They've already been able to sell mp3s online, but this really adds a cloud service for accessing that music. They even have an app store now. So really the only other provider out there that has that breadth of service is Apple.

Initially, Amazon is giving away five gigabytes of online music storage, enough for hundreds of songs. Buy an album from Amazon -- like Britney Spears' latest, "Femme Fatale" -- and Amazon will bump the space up to 20 gigabytes. As an added incentive, music purchased from Amazon doesn't count against that storage.

Amazon's cloud player for streaming music works on Android-based devices -- but not Apple's iPhone or iPad.

Stein: It's a great move for the Android platform, and I think it's a big win for them. I think a lot of people, when they see that, are going to want it on their other phones, as well.

Stein expects both Apple and Google to launch their cloud-streaming services soon.

I'm Bob Moon for Marketplace.

About the author

Bob Moon is Marketplace’s senior business correspondent, based in Los Angeles.

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