The first critics were quick to arrive after Amazon launched the Cloud Player music service last night. Forrester’s analyst Mark Mulligan wrote on his blog that music locker services like Amazon’s “are not an innovation in the music product” and they “will not save music industry”.
Cloud Player allows users to upload their music and play it on a PC, Mac or any Android device. The music playback is not restricted to a single computer. The data is stored on cloud servers, or Amazon’s centralized, web-connected data centers. The user you can log in from anywhere to access to the music.
The first 5 gigabytes of storage are free with an annual fee for additional space. Songs purchased from Amazon don’t count toward the storage limit. Those who buy an album from Amazon can get their free storage raised to 20 gigabytes.
All this is very smartly positioned and gives Amazon tools to build a music ecosystem with it’s customers, says Mulligan. But he says that the services still just gives people access to the music they already own across different devices, and that’s something consumers expect to be standard.
“Like it or loathe it, seamless multidevice access has just become table stakes, not the next great leap forward,” he says.
Amazon got to the market before Apple and Google, but the competition may also come from abroad. Sweden-based online music service Spotify is getting huge in Europe, and it has plans to launch also in the United States.
Spotify has been successful with it’s freemium model: the users can access the whole online music library for free if they’re satisfied with lower-quality music, advertisements and computer access. If you decide to pay the 10-euro premium price, you get no ads and better quality music. In addition you can use the service with iOS devices, Android, Nokia smartphones and many others.