Amazon Launches Digital Music Locker, Even As Legality Is Still In Question

from the did-they-obtain-licenses? dept

Well, this could get interesting. While there are already a few digital music lockers on the market -- including services like MP3Tunes and MeCanto -- there's been plenty of talk over the past few months about the "big players" entering the market. Most of the focus has been on both Apple (which bought and shut down the music locker service Lala) and Google, but Amazon beat both companies to the starting line and launched its service a few hours ago.

The question that's most interesting to me is whether or not it's paying for licenses, and at this point, it's unclear. We've seen, for example, that the record labels are not happy about these services, with EMI in a legal fight with MP3Tunes. On top of that record labels are demanding additional fees and licenses, even though these lockers only allow people to store and stream music they already have. Whether or not Amazon paid any licenses is unclear. The News.com article linked above says "as of last week the online retailer giant had not obtained all the necessary licenses, but that Amazon might announce the service before all the negotiations were complete."

But here's my question: what necessary licenses? Why should anyone else have to pay a license to let me store and stream my own music? Update: Hypebot has more, saying that Amazon doesn't believe it needs licenses, and some of the labels (but not all) are upset. Specifically, Warner Music is pissed and is contemplating legal action, but other labels aren't quite as upset.

As for Amazon's actual service, I have no idea if it's compelling, but I will say it's rather silly and pointless that they're making me reupload music. I already have an Amazon S3 account which (among other things) I use to backup all of my (yes, legal and authorized) music. What would be great is if I could just point this new Amazon Cloud Player at my existing music that is already stored on Amazon's servers, and then stream it from there. But that does not appear to be an option. Instead, I would need to reload all of it (and since I have a lot more than 5 gigs of music, I'd have to pay multiple times for it. And, with anyone else launching a similar service, I'd probably have to upload it again and again.

Let's be honest here: that's not really a cloud service. A true cloud service would let me store my music wherever I wanted, and then point whatever streaming player I wanted at it... But, of course, I'm sure the record labels would want another bunch of licenses paid up in full before anything like that is ever allowed.

Filed Under: cloud, digital lockers, music, streaming
Companies: amazon, apple, google, mp3tunes


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  1. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 29 Mar 2011 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Seriouslly Mike? The $?

    Mike, while I agree that uploading +5 gigs of music, to an otherwise unproven service (although I wouldn't say Amazon is a fly-by-night operation) is a pain, and all your music should be "grandfathered" in... but how can you complain about the price? First 5 gigs free and another 20 gigs added if you buy a single album?

    I don't believe I complained about the price anywhere. My only complaint was in the idea that I might need to pay twice. I'm already paying for my S3 storage.

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