Amazon to add Sonos, Roku support to Cloud Player

    Sonos users, rejoice. Soon you'll be able to stream your personal music files via the cloud, instead of from a local hard drive.

    Sonos Music System: Will soon support cloud music storage ("Cloud Player") from Amazon.
    Sonos Music System: Will soon support cloud music storage (“Cloud Player”) from Amazon.

    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.

    Yet.

    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.

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    • thegriz

      very cool news about support for roku. curious to hear your thoughts on amazon cloud player vs. google play music… have you written a piece on that?

      • I don’t recall yet doing an Amazon vs. Google comparison for music services/apps. Good suggestion. It’s a toss up. I do like both, though I’d give the edge to Play Music as it’s Google and I like using their apps in general. Also, the user interface is better (swiping columns, search bar, bluetooth control, etc).For purchases, Google encodes are 320Kbps which I definitely prefer over Amazon’s 256Kbps. Either way, the advent of cloud storage and now in combo with Roku, Sonos (and I’m sure soon others), is just about as awesome as it gets for us music enthusiasts!

        • thegriz

          agreed, in concept. please correct me if i am wrong, but there is currently no way to access google play from my roku. i searched all the channels (including private ones) and found nothing. there are android apps (juice) that allow streaming to roku, so i could always do that, but i imagine that would impact the bit rate. would my android device stream at 320k to my roku?

          • Right, afaik no way to use Google Play as music library with Roku. Hopefully with Amazon’s announcement, others will soon follow. Only seems natural to me. Not sure about bit rates, will have to do some weekend testing.

    • Steve

      I haven’t seen anything regarding limitations for upload on Amazon cloud player, and I’m wondering if there are none, if this would be a method to avoid Sonos’ current track limitations if indexing from the local device/computer…

    • slappymagoo

      Potentially dumb question, but the Cloud Player will only *upgrade* your files right? if you bought something from Google @ 320kbps, and then opt to save it at Amazon as well, it will remain 320?