Business Matters: Appreciate Amazon's Cloud Drive For What It Is, Not What It Isn't
Business Matters: Appreciate Amazon's Cloud Drive For What It Is, Not What It Isn't

Amazon has beaten Google and Apple to the cloud by launching a cloud music storage service that will allow people to remotely access their digital music collections from connected devices.

Called Cloud Drive, the service is integrated into both the web store and the Amazon's MP3 store app for Android devices (the app must be updated to use Cloud Drive). People can use either option to upload their collection to Amazon's servers or add to their cloud-based collections by purchasing digital music from Amazon.

Amazon has set up the pricing to reward its customers. Cloud Drive comes with 5GB of free storage and will increase that to 20GB for a year with purchase of one album from its MP3 store. In addition, songs purchased from the Amazon MP3 store do not count against the storage quota. Additional storage space costs extra: $20 per year for 20GB up to $1,000 per year for 1,000GB.

Cloud Drive goes beyond music, however. Photos and movies can also be stored in Cloud Drive as users can create different folders to place their files. However, movies storage is not integrated into the purchasing experience and Amazon is initially pushing Cloud Drive as a music storage service.

Unlike music services such as Rhapsody, MOG and Rdio, Cloud Drive is not a "jukebox in the sky" that allows unlimited access to a large catalog of music. Instead, Cloud Drive allows access to a user's personal collection. Other than files that are purchased from Amazon, each file in a user's collection must be uploaded individually. In this way, Cloud Drive is similar to music locker services such as MP3Tunes and Audiogalaxy.