Amazon Launches Cloud Player Service

Google and Apple, you just got served.

Online retail giant Amazon pulled a fast one this week with the launch of its Cloud Player, a service that allows users to upload and play music through the web or Android phones. Existing Amazon customers are given 5GB free space by default, with the option to upgrade to 20GB (and beyond) on a yearly basis.

The service allows users to upload existing song files, import playlists from iTunes, organize music, and search for titles. And unlike some other online streaming services, Cloud Player also allows users to skip around to different points in a song. Early reviews have been favorable.

The four major labels have reportedly not reached an agreement at this time, but Amazon insists that it does not need a license for music storage. While it’s certainly a risky maneuver to push ahead, Amazon also previously opened its DRM-free mp3 store without full approval from the majors and managed to successfully siphon some business away from iTunes.

Cloud Player may also have the side effect of increasing market share for Android smartphones, which should benefit greatly from having something NOT offered for Apple’s iPhone.

Both Apple and Google are rumored to be planning their own cloud-based players, so consumers will likely soon have multiple options. For now, Amazon leads the way.

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