(I'll do a separate entry for the NY Times website situation and the new announcement for Kindle-edition subscribers but, essentially, the $19.95/mo. Kindle NYT subscription will give full access to the website too.)
Mashable headlines its story:
"Amazon Cloud Player Lets You Play Your Music From Anywhere."
Amazon is now in the music streaming business with the launch today of Cloud Player, a music player setup that lets you upload your favorite music to your Amazon Cloud Drive and play the mp3's via the web or via an Android device and listen to your music wherever you are whenever you want, if you have a good connection to the Net.
Amazon starts you out with 5 GB of free storage, but you can be upgraded to a 20-GB cloud space for a year when you buy one mp3 album through Amazon by December 31, 2011. If you use more than your allotment, it costs an additional $1 per GB.
' CAVEAT: Amazon states that "If you qualify for this offer and either have not signed up for Amazon Cloud Drive or have the 5GB Amazon Cloud Drive plan, you will be automatically eligible for the 20 GB plan for one year from the date of your MP3 album purchase. Unless you set your account to auto-renew to a paid plan, the 20 GB plan will revert to a free plan one year from the date of your MP3 album purchase.
If your Amazon Cloud Drive account is already at 20 GB or higher when you qualify for this offer, the offer will be saved to your account as a $20 credit toward any future Amazon Cloud Drive plan fees you may incur at the time your plan renews or at the time you upgrade your plan. If you elect to downgrade your plan to a free plan at the time of renewal, your upgrade offer will be applied towards the 20 GB plan at that time. '
In other words, Amazon is encouraging customers to get used to 20 gigs of cloud space for our music, but after the first year of 20 free gigs, it would cost $20 per year for that much cloud storage; they do automatically set you back to 5 GB after a year, rather than automatically charge you for the larger storage space, however So, if you don't want that, you can just take the 20 GB plan for a year (after buying one mp3 album) and then scale back to using 5 gigs which will still be free.
UPDATED from experience 3/31/11 - On 3/30, I bought an inexpensive mp3 album and received the 20 GB space. Today, I bought a couple of other inexpensive ones and got an add'l credit for (another) 20 GB, to be used upon the renewal date of the bonus space I received yesterday. That explains the paragraph just above.
It's worth noting here that NEW mp3's you purchase from Amazon get free storage in the cloud and are never added against your storage space count.
1,000 favorites available (in the free Basic plan) for free personal streaming has sounded pretty good to me, actually. It does cost money to store and stream music, so $20/year (or $1.67/month) for the streaming of music we choose seems reasonable.
Since my very old iPod holds 60 gigs of music, even 20 doesn't seem huge to me and 5 gigs seems small, but Amazon points out that with only the 5-gig allotment you can store about 1,000 songs on it (4,000 with the 20-gig plan). So, 20 gigs of my favorite music available anywhere is attractive. I did sign up today because I don't tend to carry my iPod out -- and playing mp3's on my Kindle uses up battery time I'd rather save for books, periodicals, and my now constant use of the Kindle Notepad :-)
With both the web and Android versions of the cloud player you can create playlists and organize your music.
The agreement I encountered told me I had to agree NOT to share the cloud music with others (not to make a streaming service for others) and not to store music for others. Listening to your music requires a password.
Mashable reports that Google and Apple "have been rumored to be hard at work on their own cloud-based players, but it looks like Amazon beat them to the punch."
Technical Details - from the Amazon CloudPlayer pages:
UPDATE4: Amazon has changed the wording now on this page:
CHANGE: CLOUD DRIVE> at 5GB is available to all Amazon customers.
The UPGRADE for storage is not available in some countries (see bottom).
CLOUD PLAYER is available only for U.S. customers. This streams music, and rights worldwide are probably a problem as well as streaming using a lot of bandwidth and costly to run.
· App upgrade is only available for Android OS 1.6+
· PDF and video content is currently not available for purchase on the Amazon MP3 Android app
Well, now that Amazon is streaming everything (latest movies too) and making available many apps for Android, I can't imagine they won't be producing an Amazon Android tablet at some point.
UPDATE1 - I omitted one very important point:
' Songs purchased from Amazon MP3 are stored in your Cloud Drive for free.Thanks to posts in the Comments area for that. This applies only to NEW Amazon mp3 purchases.
When you purchase songs or albums from the Amazon MP3 Store, you can now save your purchases to your Cloud Drive. All your purchases are backed up and available for you to download at any time. Even better, you can listen to your music from any web-connected computer with Amazon Cloud Player.
And the best part? When you save your Amazon MP3 Store purchases directly to your Cloud Drive, they don't take up any of your storage space and are always stored for free. '
Also, Amazon doesn't limit your storage space to mp3's. Store your music, videos, photos, and documents on Amazon's secure servers.
1. Be sure to check out the HELP page for "Getting Started" which shows you what to expect on your personal cloud drive, in layout.
2. Also check out the HELP page for actually "Using Amazon Cloud Drive."
3. On the main intro page, there are two videos available:
One on the top-right introduces the Cloud Drive and Cloud Player, and a second video further down, in the center column is titled "Learn How to Use Cloud Player."
UPDATE3 Original posting was at 8:20 AM
(This one conflicted with earlier "Technical Details" from another Amazon page cited above but is fixed now. See Update4. Sorry for confusing reading in this chronological (b)log.
Another help page has a Cloud Player FAQ. Part of that is this interesting table of countries where the upgrade to 20 gigs feature is not available.
' Where is Amazon Cloud Drive [not] available?
The 5 GB free storage plan is available to all Amazon.com customers, however further upgrades to the storage plan are currently unavailable in the following countries:
Austria Belgium Bulgaria Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Ireland Italy Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Malta Netherlands Poland Portugal Romania Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden United Kingdom
Update 4 See the linked section above.
Essentially, though, Cloud PLAYER is U.S. only (for streaming of customer's music).
Basic Cloud DRIVE at 5GB is for all Amazon customers.
Cloud DRIVE Upgrade to 20GB is available in only some countries, noted in the table at Update 3.
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