Amazon made some minor announcements today regarding its consumer cloud services.
One was to split Cloud Player (for music) from Cloud Drive (for storage). This makes sense when you consider the use cases between the two services are different.
Slightly less attention grabbing was Amazon’s decision to start charging for a new premium version of Cloud Player. It’s not much, just $25 per year gives you virtually unlimited storage of music. Better still, all your tracks that match the database will be upgraded to 256Kbps. Sure enough, when I checked my account this morning, Amazon had indeed upgraded my tracks (and also stored a copy of them under “Archived music” on Cloud Drive). I should note that there is still a free, very limited tier, especially when compared to Google Play Music. With the freebie you can only store 250 songs; though any purchases via Amazon are stored gratis.
Another update was licensing agreements with Sony Music Entertainment, EMI Music, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group that will facilitate scan and match (against a catalog of 20 million songs), much like we’ve seen with Apple iTunes.
But what really caught my eye when I scanned the press release was the upcoming inclusion of Roku and Sonos. Aha! Finally!
I’ve been wanting cloud storage support for Sonos for eons now. Call it the cherry on top. Sonos is great, but one limitation is that to access your personal music files (not services such as Pandora, Spotify, Slacker, etc.) you need to leave a computer running so it can find your tracks on the hard drive. However, with cloud storage there should be no reason why I can’t point Sonos to, say, Google Music, or Amazon Cloud Player, or Dropbox even. Currently, the software does not support any of these locations.
The good news: Amazon said this morning it will support both Sonos and Roku as “cloud player compatible devices.”
There was no indication when this feature would be added or how it would work; though on the latter I suspect it will be simply a matter of entering your Amazon credentials into the Sonos app or desktop controller.
This is all well and good, and I expect many of the home theater/audio forums to light up with cautionary joy. But I’m still hoping for one last thing: support for Google Play Music. It’s the bomb. I buy my music via Google (320Kbps!) and like the Android app. Still, I’ve uploaded copies of my music collection to both Amazon and Google, so in that regard it may not really matter that Sonos will still have limited cloud storage partners. I should just be thankful that any kind of cloud storage is available.