We knew Amazon has been bringing more and more value to its Amazon Prime Instant Video service for some time now, however we've known for a while that they also wanted to start up a "better than Google" music service. Until this week, not much has been heard of the new project, as they were working on securing the music labels, similar to how Spotify had to go through its motions. Sure, the Cloud Drive was up and running, letting you load up 5GB of music, but there wasn't a diverse enough list of songs to choose from and you had to buy their music to get their 20GB service. Plus, it launched without consent from the music labels, which meant the app couldn't have lasted very long if they didn't take action fast.
What labels are on board and what will it cost you, you ask? Luckily we have the answers for you after the break.
Now, Amazon has revamped their music player and has created what appears to be a hybrid of iTunes, Google Music and Spotify all in one program. Music from Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group, Sony Music, EMI and Warner Music Group is now available through the Amazon Cloud Player. Not only will you be able to have several of your connected devices load up from music stored in one place, but the Kindle Fire, Android devices and even iPhones will all be able to participate in harmonious auditory bliss, without selling the user's soul to Google or Apple (except for maybe the device). It also doesn't hurt that the Kindle Fire is only $199 and directly competes with the iPad for the casual tablet user market. This relaunched program has one last benefit, too: Roku and Sonos players will be able to access the Amazon Cloud Player as well, essentially making your entire house a musical paradise.
Users still have the option of uploading all of their current songs on their hard drive to the Cloud Player, even stuff from iTunes, and they will play without trouble. Amazon will have a couple of options for subscribers, including a free version that lets you load up 250 songs. You can also opt for the paid edition, at $25 a year, which will grant you the ability to play through 250,000 of your beloved MP3s as many times as you want.
The question still remains if this is enough to get you to switch from Spotify, Zune, Pandora, iTunes or whatever other music streaming service you might be using. For me, the combination of Spotify and Zune seem to be doing the trick but your mileage may vary. Are you going to give Amazon a test drive? Tell me how much MPG (music per gigabyte) you have in your collection and what programs you can't live without in the comments below. Now, if only they would bundle this along with Instant Video and free 2-day shipping for $80 a year...