Amazon gives us the first big cloud, but the major labels want to take it away
On Tuesday, Amazon surprised everyone by introducing Amazon Cloud Drive. Everyone was literally surprised, including the record labels, consumers, journalists -- nobody had a clue this was coming. In case you've missed it, Amazon Cloud Drive is an online file locker where you can store your files, including your audio files and access them anywhere.
It was just last week we got a glimpse at some of the ideas being presented to the president regarding copyright law, among those ideas, making illegal streaming music a felony.
Why does that matter? Well, er, according some labels, Amazon's new service might be doing just that. Before we start looking at the arguments from the major labels against Amazon, let's first remember one key facet of music ownership: You don't own your music. You're licensing it for private use. You can't do whatever you want with it.
So, the possible impending legal battle between Amazon and the labels is uncharted territory and has the potential to be a pretty big deal.
First off, let's look at the actual service. Amazon technically launched two services, Cloud Drive and Cloud Player. Basically, you upload your music library to Cloud Drive for a fee (5 GB are free to everyone, and the price goes up from there -- but it's surprising affordable as long as you don't have 1 TB of music). After downloading some special software, you'll be able to start uploading your music to the cloud. Depending on the size of your library, this could take a very large chunk of time (in our case, 95 hours, 10 minutes).
Once it's online, you'll have access to your library on any computer with an internet connection and a web browser. If you have an Android phone, you'll have it there, too (iPhone users are presently out of luck). It's a pretty straightforward interface on a computer and a service that should be immensely helpful to anyone bouncing between a work and home computer. It all works well, and although most cell networks in Denver won't give you a good enough connection to stream your music seamlessly, it's still better than having nothing at all.