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Amazon has injected their Cloud Player music service with numerous new features as part of an update designed to better help the company compete with the likes of iTunes and other similar services. The online retail giant reportedly signed deals with EMI Music, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group and another 150 or so independent labels in order to make some of the new features a reality.
Amazon’s scan and match technology works much like Apple’s offering in that it scans a customer’s iTunes and Windows Media Player libraries, matching those songs with the 20 million titles in Amazon’s catalog. All matched tunes are instantly added to a customer’s Cloud Player and upgraded to 256 Kbps quality free of charge.
Any music files that have been previously uploaded to Cloud Player will also be upgraded to the higher bit rate. Furthermore, any music (past and present) that has been purchased through Amazon’s MP3 store will be saved to Cloud Player.
Members can store all Amazon MP3 purchases and up to 250 MP3s from their computer via Cloud Player free of charge. For $24.99 a year, users can import up to 250,000 songs to the cloud in addition to all of their tunes purchased through Amazon.
Finally, Amazon is splitting Cloud Drive and Cloud Player into two separate subscription services. Cloud Drive will be used exclusively for file storage while Cloud Player will be used for music storage and playback. Cloud Drive’s free service limits capacity to 5GB while a $10 annual plan bumps this up to 20GB.
These new Cloud Player features will be automatically delivered to Kindle Fire users over the coming days. Other users are encouraged to visit Amazon’s Cloud Player website or check out Android or iOS apps via their respective app stores.
Amazon sent a wave crashing through the mobile industry when it announced its Kindle Fire would land with a price of $199. This is likely the best value in a tablet on the market, and will make tablet computing accessible to many people that either couldn't afford an iPad or couldn't tolerate Honeycomb tablets.
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