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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2012 @ 11:40pm

    Once again, modern copyright is revealed for what it really is. A anti-competitive, communist monopoly, over other peoples property. Which allows these disgusting copyright cartels (who don't even make anything, except scam the musician's rights away from them) to seek 'protection' money, and leech the life from people for the right to use their own property. They have no moral or ethical rights to force people pay those 'fees', they only have the threat of violence from private, and public government enforcers. This is not free market, this is not democracy.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 1:18am

      Re:

      I don't think you understand TRUE Communism.

       

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      •  
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        The eejit (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 2:12am

        Re: Re:

        No, but again, that's not what this is: this is much closer to Orwellian Communism, which is the corrupt get rich whilst everyone else struggles.

        This doesn't seem to be for the artists, but rather for the labels. After all, this isn't technically a license, nor is it a sale to the end user.

         

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    •  
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      gab4moi (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 2:32am

      Re:

      umm... communist? Surely this is a classic ultra capitalist situation/ But then again, the Foxnews American understanding of concepts like these is somewhat challenged...

       

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      •  
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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 6:37am

        Re: Re:

        This is an example of the kind of shit you get when you have capitalism without a free market.

         

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      •  
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        ltlw0lf (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 11:20am

        Re: Re:

        Surely this is a classic ultra capitalist situation.

        Nope, if that was true, than any competitor could enter the market and break up the monopoly. Since no competitor can legally enter the market, because they are prevented from doing so by the government through copyright, which creates an artificial monopoly...it isn't capitalism.

        If course, piracy is competition. So maybe AC is right, it isn't "TRUE Communism".

         

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2012 @ 11:52pm

    It could be helpful

    If all you have is asymmetric broadband connection that has very slow upload speed.

    If they hashes your harddisk and find a music file that it knows, and then say that "You can use my copy instead of uploading your own" it can save time for it's users.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2012 @ 11:55pm

      Re: It could be helpful

      And I'll add that in this way, the storage space for their service would be more efficient. (As same file from different account can be linked to the same physical file, so need not store redundent copies)

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 1:21am

        Re: Re: It could be helpful

        Filthy, second-rate internet ADSL peasant reporting in!

         

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        Rikuo (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 8:53am

        Re: Re: It could be helpful

        Didn't Megaupload get in trouble for that? They would have the one file on their servers and when many people uploaded the same file, they would just generate new links to the one file. When asked to do a DMCA takedown, they would just takedown the links, but not the file itself (which really would have been overkill, as that file may be up there on their servers legally for at least one person).

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 12:04am

    I think Amazon may have seen the writing on the wall here. I also think that Amazon may have seen that the free streaming service wasn't driving business.

    I would say that they are very likely moving to a business model that will appeal to fewer people, but will be much more bottom line positive.

     

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 1:20am

    Any chance of people in the UK being able to use it?

    No? Didn't think so.

    Dear Entertainment Industry

    The Internet is global so please issue global licences.

    Regards

    Concerned Public

     

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      That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 2:11am

      Re: Any chance of people in the UK being able to use it?

      The very very sad thing is, they can't.
      These multinational megacorps have created such a tangled mess of laws and collection agencies to "protect" their interests that they have successfully made it impossible.

      Even if somehow all of the people running these labels all dropped dead in the morning and were replaced with people who get the simple idea that the world is just 1 marketplace now, they would face YEARS of litigation trying to dismantle the "protective" web.

      And the real losers in all of this would remain consumers, who just want to buy the damn content, use the silly services, and have a good experience without tons of hassles and stumbling blocks.

       

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        Zakida Paul (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 2:36am

        Re: Re: Any chance of people in the UK being able to use it?

        And this is why piracy is here to stay.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 2:37am

        Re: Re: Any chance of people in the UK being able to use it?

        You forgot to mention local content, labeling, language, and distribution laws that often make it impossible to do anything close to a global deal. It was done to protect consumers and to protect local industry, and it won't go away any time soon.

        Trust me when I say the record labels and movie companies often really hate this crap too. But they have to work like that to stay within the laws, and to mitigate risk.

         

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          Zakida Paul (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 3:03am

          Re: Re: Re: Any chance of people in the UK being able to use it?

          Designed to protect consumers? Don't make me laugh. It was designed to protect corporate profits and to draw every last penny from consumers.

           

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 5:03am

          Re: Re: Re: Any chance of people in the UK being able to use it?

          So if label don't wish to take the risk why should they be concerned that other people, i.e. their consumers, are willing to take the risk in their place? They're not any poorer from it and have absolutely no risk...

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 5:44am

        Re: Re: Any chance of people in the UK being able to use it?

        "Even if somehow all of the people running these labels all dropped dead in the morning"

        That thought made me sigh happily

         

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          That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 12:39pm

          Re: Re: Re: Any chance of people in the UK being able to use it?

          Me too and that was even after I considered how many cartel shills would call their besties in the Government to try and scare Mike into giving up my details for threatening harm to the cartel heads.

           

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      BentFranklin (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 7:35am

      Re: Any chance of people in the UK being able to use it?

      This is why they are trying to make the Internet not global anymore.

       

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    Mesonoxian Eve (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 3:23am

    I'm always impressed companies think "cloud" means "match data" so everything's matched up, and not what the word stands for, which means an isolated set of data we can access anywhere in the world.

    /sarcasm.

    Next thing we'll see is Amazon telling its customers they can't use the cloud unless it can connect to your hard drive. Just like Apple does.

    Ridiculous loss of a good feature.

    *removes stuff from Amazon's cloud.

    It's no longer useful to me. I can VPN into my own laptop.

     

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    Jenny Worman, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 6:25am

    Spotify

    Yes indeed - who needs this when you have Spotify

     

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    identicon
    Ven, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 6:39am

    ... but in the year+ since Amazon's streaming player launched, I honestly can't remember ever hearing anyone mention using it.


    That may be because Amazon had a compelling idea that caught people's attention when it launched, but the implementation was crap. This is the reoccurring theme on TechDirt of ideas vs execution.

    Not long after the launch I had bought an album from the Amazon MP3 store and everything worked well, at least part of my choice of purchasing it from Amazon over iTunes was the cloud player and extra storage that came with the Amazon purchase.
    With all this new storage space I decided to upload a few albums I had on my computer. The first one I picked as an internet distributed compilation album. Putting aside the fact that I had to download a desktop application to upload files to a website, the experience was mostly painless until I actually tried to use the cloud player to view my uploaded music. Amazon split the album (equivalent of 2CDs) into 18 different albums, some with only 1 track. It didn't seem to have any rational reason for how it made the splits, tracks by the same artist were split into different albums, etc. iTunes didn't have the same issue when it imported the album into its library. And to make matters just a little worse Amazon's cloud player didn't at the time (and may still not) have a way to edit the track meta data, or reorganize the tracks into one album.

     

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      montgoss (profile), Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 12:00pm

      Re:

      That's another change they added with this. You can now edit the track metadata directly from the Cloud Player.
      Just did it. Works fine. As long as it's just a few files you need to fix, shouldn't be too bad.

       

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    identicon
    Glen, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 7:24am

    Quite honestly when it comes to uploading music, I'm much happier using Google. It is easier to use and I can even edit album info if I want. It also seems to work better when I am using my phone for listening while I'm biking. I may just delete everything on Amazon.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 8:11am

    FreeTard. /s

     

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    PT (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 9:48am

    Let's see if I understand. For a nominal fee, I can allow a bunch of people who have a contract with the RIAA to examine and catalog everything I have on my hard disk, in exchange for which they'll let me listen to music that I already own.

    That's like paying a representative of a gang of notorious housebreakers to come into your home, copy your keys and catalog your valuables, and in exchange they let you watch your own television.

     

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    montgoss (profile), Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 12:05pm

    Amazon user

    As Amazon was one of the (if not the) first to offer DRM-free mp3 purchases, I've purchased all of my music in the last several years almost exclusively through Amazon.
    So, I used the Cloud Player for a while when it came out (until the bandwidth issues at my work annoyed me into just downloading all of my mp3's). It works well with new purchases as well, since they are added instantly to your Cloud Player account (and don't count against your space usage).

    So, for someone like me, this IS actually an upgrade.

     

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