Amazon has launched an Internet service that lets customers store music on Amazon’s servers and access them using digital devices such as computers and smartphones, CNNMoney.com reported.
The move puts Amazon, at least temporarily, out in front of similar efforts by Google and Apple that have been slowed by wrangling over music rights. Amazon apparently avoided that problem by not bothering to get the rights, which has the music industry up in arms, according to the story.
Said Paul Verna, senior analyst at eMarketer: "For Amazon to try to sidestep all of this, the consequences are a big question mark. It’s the first shot across the bow, which is refreshing, but you can smell the lawsuits coming."
The Amazon Cloud Drive will give Amazon customers 5GB of cloud storage for free, and they can be upgraded to 20GB of storage for a year by buying an mp3 album, the story says. The Cloud Player is compatible with PCs, Macs and Android devices, according to the report.
“A Sony Music spokeswoman said Tuesday that the company is ‘disappointed that the “locker service” that Amazon is proposing is unlicensed by Sony Music. We’re hoping that they will resolve the situation by moving to a licensed model. We are keeping our legal options open,’” CNNMoney reported.
According to Verna, cloud music services are a legal gray area. "Music licensing rules are arcane, and [labels] don’t yet know how to handle the cloud. Amazon has leapt to the front of the line, but this is not going to be a smooth ride," he said.
Technology is evolving at a faster pace than business models, the story notes, adding, “Major music companies have been slow to embrace streaming or subscription models because the monetization plan isn’t clear-cut–and they think they’re not getting the appropriate value for each piece of content.”