Amazon’s attempts to transform itself into a digital media company are starting to light up the cloud. Amazons most recent release Amazon MP3 along with it’s CloudDrive Internet storage service are a two punch combination. Beating Google and Apple to the Web Based MP3 player must have given them some serious satisfaction. Amazons MP3 versions at the moment are limited to Mac, and PC on the computer and Android for tablets and phones. Think of it as a web based iTunes with-out the need to sync and no pictures of fruit.
With Amazon MP3 on your Android the music you uploaded from your PC becomes instantly available to your phone. Any PC you use – as long as it has an internet connection – can access your collection or files. Uploading your MP3 collection begins with Amazon’s software scanning you PC and cataloging your collection. Once Amazon has done it’s thing, you get to select what is uploaded, the transfer begins, it’s a relatively painless process. The files are actually uploaded to the Amazon Cloud service.
To compliment the MP3 Player – or is it the other way round – Amazon has released the Amazon Cloud Drive Storage service. They are currently offering 5GB free storage, with that being upgraded to 20GB with an album purchase from the Amazon store. So buy an album get 20GB online storage, top it off with albums not counting towards storage and it looks like a pretty sweet deal. The Cloud Drive isn’t just for music either, any kind of file can be stored there to be accessed from any computer through your web browser.
The third piece to the Amazon puzzle is the Amazon Store where we can all purchase MP3′s according to their very clever plan. The first Album you buy through the store will get you into the CloudDrive for free and then you can use the MP3 player anywhere to listen to the album you purchased. A closed loop. Amazon’s Store has a long way to catch up to Apple back catalogue and the number of record labels on board.
There are other services being offered up from Amazons IT push – Operated out of their own server farms in South Africa -, Web Hosting, they’ll even build you a web site – EC2 – Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud – is a virtual machine hosting service that lets you do proper cloud work, not just storage. You can log in and install applications, run things, just like you desktop machine, except that it’s actually a machine in one of Amazons Server farm. All of these services add up to a serious digital contender, some powerful infrastructure – software and hardware – must be required to pull of this together.
Amazon isn’t the only large Internet company to be offering Cloud service products, Google has launched it’s own service called Google App Engine, they are testing they’re own web based MP3 player in-house. Google employee’s are using it apparently. It is a natural extension to Google’s applications and would instantly rate with their most useful software like G-Mail. Amazon will need to stay ahead of Google if it wants to stay alive in this new frontier. There are also other services like Pandora – web music streaming service, classics like Napster and till a while ago Limewire. Ever since the MP3 revolution began we have been experimenting with new ways to use or consumer the music we love.
So what is brewing in the clouds, will it be a thunderstorm, will the big boys compete for our storage and listening needs. This may well be what cloud computing is really all about. The strange thing is all of these services make our music more accessible by storing it on the other side of the world.
Buddha’s Brother out…