Even if you’ve not heard of the “cloud”, when you surf the internet, you’re probably using it.
The cloud is a catch-all name for, what is in essence, online storage, which gives you access to documents, files, music and videos wherever you need them – on whatever device you need them on.
Now online shopping mega retailer Amazon has got in on the act by launching its own “cloud” for customers.
Here’s all you need to know about it…
What is Amazon Cloud Player?
Amazon’s cloud offering has been designed purely around music for now in a bid to allow customers to listen to any songs bought through its e-store wherever they are.
The Amazon Cloud Player has been made available for Android, iPhone, iPod touch, the Kindle Fire and Fire HD or Mac and PC via the web and it means once you buy a song, you can listen to it everywhere you go on whatever device you own.
So how does it work?
Firstly you need to access Amazon Cloud Player from www.amazon.co.uk/cloudplayer
As soon as you sign up using your Amazon ID, it will automatically scan and import past Amazon MP3 purchases and will save those bought going forward in there too.
Not only does this give you access wherever you are but it also provides a secure backup of the music you’ve bought from Amazon.
All tracks bought through Amazon do not count towards the maximum number of songs you can store in your Cloud Player account.
Why do I need to have an account?
As well as music purchased from Amazon, Cloud Player is able to store every single song you already own and have on your computer.
The basic account is free and can store 250 songs imported from your own personal collection.
Cloud Player Premium can store 250,000 tracks for an annual fee of £21.99.
It just sounds like an online backup account?
Amazon Cloud Player certainly provides a solution to keeping your digital music safe should your hard drive crash. But there’s one extra clever trick up its sleeve.
It works in a similar way to the iTunes Match service, which is currently only available in America.
When scanning your computer, it looks through your iTunes and/or Windows Media Player libraries to see what songs you own. It then matches them to its own library of more than 20 million songs, adding them in high-quality 256 Kbps audio.
This means that rather than simply storing each song in your account as a physical file, it accesses your music from Amazon’s own vast collection, streaming it as and when you need it and making it available to download for offline play.
And it will scan and match several file types including MP3, AAC, WMA (Windows only), OGG, WAV, Apple Lossless (MacOS only), AIFF, and FLAC.
What do Amazon say about it?
According to Greg Greeley, Vice President of EU Retail at Amazon, said:
“Millions of US customers are already using Amazon Cloud Player to listen to their music everywhere, on their favourite devices, including Kindle Fire, Android phones and tablets, iPhones, iPod Touches, Macs and PCs.”
“We’re excited to bring this same convenience to Amazon music customers in the UK. The launch of Cloud Player in the UK means that customers can buy anywhere, play anywhere, and keep all of their music in one place without the need for constant software updates, or drives and cables to move and manage their music.”
Where can I use Amazon Cloud Player?
If you’re on the web, then Cloud Player works through the Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari for Mac and Chrome browsers.
You will need to be connected to the internet to use it at first but there is also a download link – alongside a streaming option – to save tunes to listen back to offline.
On Android, the Cloud Player is an updated version of the original MP3 App and includes access to the Amazon MP3 Store and the mobile version of Cloud Player. This interface can also be used to play any music separately stored on your device. You can create playlists and also download for offline play.
The iPhone and iPod touch versions have similar features.
Amazon Cloud Player can also be used on the Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD e-book reading devices, which are coming to Britain.
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