Amazon Reverses Course, Signs Licenses With Music Labels To Allow File Matching
from the matching-offerings dept
In the spring of 2011, Amazon launched its cloud music streaming player to much fanfare, along with questions about its legal status. Amazon chose not to get licenses from the labels, saying (accurately) that since the service was just to allow individuals to upload and stream their own MP3s, there was no need to get licenses. While the labels indicated they disagreed with this assessment, none seemed willing to take on the legal fight against Amazon (or Google who initially made a similar choice). After both Amazon and Google launched their cloud offerings, Apple got attention for not doing a cloud player, but rather a matching and syncing system.
Now, Amazon has apparently decided that a similar matching system makes more sense… and has done licensing deals with the four major labels and a bunch of indies. The end result is that the streaming player is changing significantly. The free service is greatly limited, and they now want $25/year for more. If you pay, then it’ll now match as many songs as it can on your hard drive with its own database, and automatically populate your account (similar to Apple’s system). Thus, users no longer need to upload all their tracks.
Basically, Amazon bought a license to allow the matching, and then switched its whole service around to enable that (and to charge people). It’ll be interesting to see how well this works. $25 isn’t much at all, but in the year+ since Amazon’s streaming player launched, I honestly can’t remember ever hearing anyone mention using it. I’m sure there are some out there, but it never seemed that successful, so it may be a challenge to get people to pay the $25. Personally, I played around with Amazon’s player a few times, but the storage limit as compared to Google’s similar offering meant that I used Google instead. These days I tend to bounce back and forth between Spotify and Google Music, and can’t think of a reason to use Amazon’s service instead — even with the matching.