Amazon Cloud and the Digital Locker Race

Posted by Drew Stoga on March 31, 2011

Amazon Cloud Player

Amazon, who has been losing the digital media race to iTunes for years, seems to have taken at least a temporary lead. Both companies, along with Google, have been working on ‘the next big thing’ in media devices and services – digital media lockers. Amazon's was the first to be released.

Essentially these lockers allow you to upload your digital media – your music, film and e-book collections – to an outside server, freeing up space on your computers, hard drives and devices. Then you can access your media wherever you can get online. Sounds pretty cool, right?

Amazon has already released their Cloud Drive, the media storage space, and Cloud Player, the actual media player. But there are a few serious limitations (check out Tech Crunch’s full explanation of the service here). As of now you can only play media purchased from Amazon and it can only be played on Android mobile devices. So for now, us iPhoners are out of luck.

But the race is far from over.

Not only did Apple secretly build a massive 500,000 square foot server farm, implying they plan on being a major player in the media locker game, but Amazon is now facing legal challenges from the music and film industry as this CNET article explains.

The Cloud has received the most attention because Amazon, unlike iTunes and Google, did not bother working out the legal details with the music and film industries before rolling out their service. Now the legal battle has begun and if the music industry’s historically stubborn attitude is any indicator, things may get nasty.

Seems to me that music execs are complaining just for the sake of complaining. The music industry has long been resistant to the digitalization and, understandably, the subsequent ‘piratization’ of music. As a musician and avid fan who still collects vinyl, I sympathize but it’s time to admit that things have changed and what used to work in the music industry isn’t working anymore.

I wonder how all of our GigMasters artists feel about this…?

Leave us a comment to let us know!

UPDATE: Ironically,on the same day Amazon struggled with its Cloud service (causing some well known companies to struggle along with them) news leaked that iTunes is ready to roll out their digital storage service well ahead of Google. Read further coverage here and here.

UPDATE #2: Google gave more details of their service and launched a beta version. Check out this video.

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