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Amazon Cloud Player

Amazon is giving its cloud-based music service Cloud Player some significant upgrades today that could bring it up to par with rival services from Apple and Google.

Previously, the Cloud Player worked in conjunction with Amazon’s Cloud Drive storage locker. Now, the two services will operate separately — with Cloud Player becoming a place to both play and store a user’s music library.

The company is maintaining two tiers of service for the Cloud Player, a free version that lets you store up to 250 songs, and a premium version that gives you 250,000 songs for an annual fee of $25, which is competitive with Apple’s iTunes Match. Any music purchased through Amazon is automatically stored via Cloud Player without counting toward the total number of stored songs.

Cloud Player is available on multiple connected devices, including the iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire, and many other Android-based devices. The company also said the service will make its way to the Roku and Sonos streaming media devices in the near future.

Amazon also forged agreements with the majority of major music labels on a deal that will allow Cloud Drive users to essentially scan their entire library and “upgrade” each song to a higher quality audio file. All existing music within a person’s Cloud drive account will get the quality upgrade, too. The move could lure in some people who still own tons of low quality music files. That said, if you’re still listening to digital music that was encoded as a lower quality audio file, I don’t know that this would even register as a perk.

Still, if you don’t want your music restricted to Apple’s platforms, Amazon’s Cloud Player update makes the service a legitimately viable alternative.

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