back to article Amazon jumps the gun on free clouds

Amazon has got in first with an online music storage service, or "Cloud Drive" as the bookseller puts it. Amazon's service gives you 5GB of free music storage which can then be played back on any Android phone, Mac, PC or even a tablet. If 5GB is not enough then buy any MP3 album through Amazon and you get upgraded to 20GB. …


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  1. ShaggyDoggy

    For U.S. Customers Only

    It appears that you are attempting to use Amazon Cloud Player from outside the U.S. This service is intended for U.S. customers only.

  2. hugh

    but only in the US

    they must be having problems with the English version.

    1. Gav


      What language is it in? Spanish?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ¿English?

        I expect it's in American English rather than English.

      2. Chris Hance

        Clueless or clever?

        I'm trying to figure out whether you missed the irony, or are just playing along. I believe you'll find Amazon's service uses "American". But being an American, I doubt any of the English speakers here will be able to read this post.

        1. FreeTard


          All the Sarf American's will be going mental at your writ.

    2. Leonard


      I LOLed.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Looks like only in the the mo anyway

    Looks like only in the the mo anyway

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cloud Drive works OK in UK

    Cloud player doesn't

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whats the point?

    Wonderful seeing most UK providers are cutting the data allowance. I have 500Mb a month. If we say an average of 4Mb per song that means I will use my monthly allowance after 125 songs. Great I can listen to 4 songs a day max or spend a fortune on buying extra data and all without using data on anything else. I dont think so :(

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Or listen at home on broadband

      if you are on a limited service, that suckz

    2. Ed 11

      Do something

      If you don't like the fact your network provider is cutting your data allowance, may I suggest you up sticks and move to The One Plan on Three. Complaining in internet forums isn't likely to get things changed. An exodus of customers might be.

      1. Tromm

        all the same

        Three sold me an 'unlimited' plan a year ago then changed the name and wording of the contract mid term to be a 500mb limit. They said this was just to match their "fair use" policy. A few months later they launched the one plan which is essentially what I had signed up for originally.

        The whole industry is making money hand over fist from these games - dont imagine changing providers will make much difference.

      2. Simon Westerby 1

        I was on three and left...

        as their network coverage now rubbish...

        Poor 2g signal at home and No signal at work.

        The "promised" upgrade to the mast near me at the end of january, never materialised... as i suspected it never would.. still no signal at work on 3.

        An unlimited usage on a phone is only good if you can actually get on teh network..

    3. david 63


      Tell 'em I sent you ;)

  6. Pedantic

    Could have given more info like:-

    ONLY for USA customers

  7. Jonathan White


    "The service you are trying to access is available to US customers only"


  8. Joe Harrison

    Free is free

    Do people really "find it hard to move music around to different devices" ? Nobody on the train this morning seemed to have any difficulty solving that one. To be honest I would much rather have my 5GB of music on my local SD card than out there on the internet somewhere. But free storage is free storage I'm sure I can think of a use for this.

    1. RegisterThis

      Ah ... but ...

      I think the real benefit is the ability to sync or access anywhere in the case that you forget to move your music around to different devices. For me, cloud backup = yes, cloud sync = yes, cloud primary store = No!

      Personally, like you, I want another local copy and I think other do too - already there are a few services to backup your cloud data.

    2. Zot

      No they don't.

      It's another example of a solution trying to find a problem.

    3. Ammaross Danan

      Must be....

      "Our customers have told us they don't want to download music to their work computers or phones because they find it hard to move music around to different devices."

      They must be using iTunes....

      I, personally, find no problem moving my mp3s on and off my devices. Burned disks for the car. Drag & Drop to my shows-up-as-mass-storage mp3 player. Put a copy on the wife's computer. Simples. Of course, it requires that you rip the music from your CD collection yourself....but that's another matter entirely.

      Die DRM. Die a horrible death.

  9. Allyn


    Ubuntu have been doing this for a while with their UbuntuOne service. Shame their marketing isn't quite as good as Apple or Amazon.

    1. Adrian Jones

      You beat me to it.

      Although, if Amazon is the 1st to do it, then clearly UbuntuOne is the 0th.

  10. Sooner Boomer


    "Our customers have told us they don't want to download music to their work computers or phones because they find it hard to move music around to different devices."

    Then Amazon customers must be total idiots (or Amazon must think they are...). How are people playing their music (files) without Amazon's service? Are microSD cards THAT hard to use?

    1. irish donkey
      Thumb Up

      Never used Amazon's MP3 offering

      But their AudioBook service 'Audible' gives you a file which is practically worthless without their player or iTunes.

      But I guess this cloud usability doesn't apply to their DRM'ed files as they have to be tied to a specific player before it will play. Unless of course they are going to relax the rules which I doubt as they have just tightened the rules again to exclude burning with Nero

      Anyway all this cloud storage is only useful for users of ipads and slate pc's with tiny hard drives. Plently or room on my 2TB's.

      I'd rather have a nice MP3 copy on my hard drive thank you very much.

      1. Radelix

        damnit motorola

        As soon as they enable the SD card on my tab I will have my entire collection on yet another device

    2. Roger Varley


      Well, presumably then, it's only Merkins that find moving files around to be difficult.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Locked down pc's

      My works pc is locked down to the extent that any disc in the drive, usb stick connected or sd card inserted is logged and recorded.

      My internet access, whilst still monitored, is open though.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        re Locked Down pc's

        My work considers cloud storage websites to be unsuitable and the web filtering blocks them, Amazons S3 service is included (which incidentally means I can't use any legititmate website that uses amazon s3 as its data centre grrr) so this would be blocked by them...

        Incidentally though I can plug in my phone, ipod or standard USB stick into a usb port and transfer files to my hearts content...

  11. P_Jamez

    Market Share

    'The service will be a challenge to Apple's grip on the music business. The company is already rumoured to be working on something similar and has the advantage of an awful lot of customers to sell it to.'

    Er, last time I checked Android had a bigger market share than iOS meaning that isn't really an advantage. Apple's vertical integration could be argued to be an advantage.

    Also seeing as it's an Andriod app why isn't the post tagged for Andriod.

  12. BorkedAgain

    Ooh, something for free?

    Amazon must be evil, right? Isn't that how it works? Bait-n-Switch?

  13. Dimitri

    Actually Amazon has the edge here

    "The service will be a challenge to Apple's grip on the music business. The company is already rumoured to be working on something similar and has the advantage of an awful lot of customers to sell it to"

    I don't quite see the advantage - considering Amazon's offering is accessible on any device while Apple's will only work on their devices, I believe Amazon has a much larger number of customers to sell their service to, as well as a significantly larger addressable market.

    Simple math.

    The only advantage Apple has is the iTunes market share in online music, but I don't believe most music customers care what store they buy their music from as long as its non-DRM'd and the price is right.

    And as great as iTunes is, Amazon has greater online experience still. This one is theirs to win or lose.

  14. Bod

    5GB storage is for anything, not just music

    There are two services being launched.

    Cloud Drive, which comes with 5GB of free storage for anything, not just music. This is available in the UK.

    Cloud Player, which streams music from your Cloud Drive. US only (probably to do with rights as I expect having the music hosted in the cloud and playable anywhere means loads of legal hassles with rights, even though it's playable only by you. We will have to wait for a UK version. I expect we will not be able to play music bought from due to rights issues also).

    1. The Fuzzy Wotnot


      I wonder what Amazon will put in place to ensure every Tom, DIck and Harry doesn't use their free storage as a substitute for Rapidshare/MegaUpload, if you know what I mean!

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmmm....

        Exactly what I was thinking. All this talk of 'cyberlockers' being a haven for 'teh evilz piratez' and general demonisation in the media when all they really are are 'cloud storage' services.

        So what gives? If you're a major player in the tech/web markets such as Apple, Amazon, Google, MS etc your service is labelled 'cloud' (therefore good/lawful) and if you're a startup your service is labelled 'cyberlocker' (therefore evil/unlawful).

        It's about time this complete lack of fairness in the disparate distinctions of these identical kinds of services was challenged in the growing numbers of cases against the so-called cyberlockers, as it seems more and more like unfair advantages in the sector being handed to certain key players.

    2. James Anderson

      normal exchange rate will apply

      Expect the normal Amazon exchange rate of 1.00 USD to 1.00 GBP (plus VAT) to apply.

  15. ShaggyDoggy


    Just tested this out.

    Uploaded an mp3 file* to my Amazon cloud.

    Then copied the link and pasted it into browser.

    Yes you can play it directly with Winamp, and therefore anything else probably.

    The big drawback is that you have to sign in to your Amazon account to listen to it or download it.

    So It's slightly less use than a 4Gb memory stick, and less instantly available too, and definitely less portable across devices, which is, erm, where Amazon came in.

    * I own the copyright

    1. Marvin the Martian

      Except if your house burns down.

      Then you (or your pwd-knowing relatives) can still play your music. Or do you keep the 4GB stick in the shed at all times?

      /ahrg, mind distracted by fiery incident. Sorry.

  16. David Lucke

    Cheap, but limited

    Very unimpressive review, the critically important fact that this is cloud storage system for any data was casually tossed off at the end of the article, after the whole rest of the article kept going on about how it was for music. Poor show Reg.

    Regarding the service itself, looks like a fairly basic, no-frills online cloud storage. Pros: Price is good - comparing to dropbox, which I use currently, storage costs less than half as much, 2 1/2 times the free storage,plus you can get as much as a 1TB, where dropbox maxes out at 100GB; Looks like a competent, simple access and management structure, with an undelete option. Cons: No frills - no automated folder syncronisation, no sophisticated backup or differential changes. No sign yet of whether they'll be publishing an API for third party programs to work from the cloud drive directly.

    Overall, will probably be very successful. I won't be using it myself much, since the lack of 3rd party API means it won't be accessible from the iPhone, and I prefer to avoid giving Amazon money when I can, due to their evil, but these won't affect most people.

    CloudPlayer looks a bit pointless to me. On a home machine, I'd rather download the mp3s and use a player of my choice, though YMMV, and as other's have commented, streaming is not workable over most mobile contracts these days (thanks for that helpful suggestion to change contracts whilst only 6 months into a 2 year contract, to a contract that isn't available for my handset).

  17. Forget It

    Terms of use - useless for a backup

    5.3 Security:

    We do not guarantee that Your Files will not be subject to misappropriation, loss or damage and we will not be liable if they are. You're responsible for maintaining appropriate security, protection and backup of Your Files.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    <title />

    The fun will start when amazon will remove an MP3 from your cloud drive due to copyright infringements (as far as that can actually be proven somehow).

    I'm with the rest, I prefer my FLAC/OGG/MP3 on my own drives, be it phone or computer.

  19. BorkedAgain
    Thumb Up

    Well, at a glance...

    Okay, have played with it a little:

    (1) the player works fine for me. No problems at all, and I'm definitely in Blighty.

    (2) I'm also far more comfortable holding my MP3s etc locally, but this kind of thing is often handy to have anyway, so no worries

    (3) I can't see any obvious way to share folders or files, so this may prove marginally less useful than Dropbox after all.

    So handy, probably-not-safe-for-critical-shit storage online for free, with optional cheap upgrade from 5GB to 20GB? I'm not going to complain...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well, at a glance...

      Yeah. I wonder if for most people Windows Live Skydrive would be just as good. 20GB free space and you are able to share files and folders if you want.

  20. ShaggyDoggy


    How will they be able to tell if

    - I downloaded it legally from a pay-for service

    - It is a freely given track by the artist

    - It is my own work and I own copyright

    Oh wait, Sony BMG says it's illegal therefore off it comes, sonny, and that's one strike.

  21. Chris Sanderson

    Ok but....

    For me this seems a good idea...

    However I generally listen to music during the commute to work, and for about 70% of that commute I don't get a signal from my phone (tunnels/trees etc) so I wouldn't be able to listen to the music. I'd also use up a lot of data (I could find a better tariff but if everyone does this surely the networks are going to start having problems again).

    For me the idea is great, but I personally (and understand that I'm not the voice of all so this might not work for some) need a hybrid of this/spotify whereby I can download albums and store them locally on my phone, whilst still having the benefit of all my music wherever I am*

    * I can actually do this very well already using back to mac and mobileme but it does require me to leave my laptop on at home.... and use Apple stuff only... which I do so not a problem for me.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Winamp plugin?

    Hey, why not?

  23. Chronos

    Fair warning to anyone

    ...on one of my networks. If I catch you using this I'll chop your sodding fingers off. I don't care if you're the senior VP of staff bogs. You may even recover to see that I've done it. Same goes for any other cloud service. Now get some sodding work done and stop buggering around on Amazon. The Araldite in the USB ports should be a clue to how much I don't want your Justin Beiber album on one of my machines.

    The main reason, Mr. Bezos, that it's difficult for people to transfer music/pictures of their whelps/funny powerpoint files/little purple bastards to their work machines is that WE MAKE IT DIFFICULT. We do that for a reason. Get a clue, FFS, and stop encouraging lusers to misuse corporate resources.

    1. Bert_US
      Thumb Up


      I wondered when someone would bring this up. Our IS group has waged war one more then a few times on folks streaming music. Nothing like waiting 5-10 seconds for google of all things to finish loading...

  24. jai

    plays anywhere?

    apart from outside the US

    and apart from on an iPhone (no iOS player app yet, web player doesn't work on iOS Safari)

    and apart from your work pc which is likely behind sufficient firewalls and site blocking to prevent you getting connected to the Cloud Drive

    So I can use it at home then. Where I currently have all my mp3s on my home computer and can play them instantly wihtout having to wait for stream-lag or for non-peak-periods when my ISP isn't throttling my bandwidth.

    so yeah, fantastic idea Amazon

  25. L1feless

    Not a bad idea....

    The concept is great.. Anyone who things this idea conceptually is bad need to be shot. The issue as many have pointed out is that ISP's and technology companies are quite literally coming to a crossroads. ISP's are throttling bandwidth and reducing network UP/Down usage meanwhile options like this one need more of both. What I'd like to see happen is services like this come together in solidarity and protest against the ISP's. If they want customers then these large organizations need to work together to show value to their collective customers.

    In the case of Canada, I expect each of these major corporations like Amazon, Google, Apple, etc etc. along with the major record and movie labels need to pressure the government to either de-regulate the internet/ telecom space or implement regulations which force legitimate services like this to not be subject to the over-the-top throttling which is occurring currently. If that does not happen then illegitimate piracy using alternative means will continue to reign supreme. People need direct benefits to show that these types of services are a viable and in many cases better alternative to piracy. The next big challenge is of course older or rare content (but hey, one hurtle at a time).

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Wrong reason, surely?

    >"Our customers have told us they don't want to download music to their work computers or phones because they find it hard to move music around to different devices."

    I don't know what they TOLD you, but the real reason is that they damn well know that if they (manage to) download music to their work computer it will be gone by the end of the week. Possibly along with any "important" file in or near the incriminated folder. Some of them suspect that it might not be as "automated" as I claim it is, and that backups might be kept on some of my personal storage, but they can't prove anything. And there's nothing to prove this time, as their taste in music is generally so bad that I don't even bother to check anymore.

    Anon Justin Kaze.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Alan Partridge reference

    "Bill Carr, vice president of Movies and Music at Amazon..."

    Sounds like a made-up name?

  28. TReko

    Has anyone read the T&C's??

    The legalise is scary: In summary:

    1. we are going to hit your credit card with upgrade fees

    2. we can look at your files

    All your data are belong to us!

    Heres a few of my favourites:


    Which alligns nicely with…

    4.4.Promotional and Trial Offers. We may offer trial Service Plans or promotional Service Plans ("Promotional Plans") for access to the Service. Some Promotional Plans may automatically upgrade to a paid Service Plan at its regular price at the end of the promotional or trial period unless you choose not to upgrade by using the means we provide you to do so. If you sign up for a Promotional Plan THAT AUTOMATICALLY UPGRADES, UNLESS YOU chOose not to upgrade, we will charge your credit card the applicable Service fee at the end of the term of the Promotional Plan. Specific terms of Promotional Plans will be provided with the plans.

    It gets better,

    5.2.Our Right to Access Your Files. You give us the right to access, retain, use and disclose your account information and Your Files: to provide you with technical support and address technical issues; to investigate compliance with the terms of this Agreement, enforce the terms of this Agreement and protect the Service and its users from fraud or security threats; or as we determine is necessary to provide the Service or comply with applicable law.

    5.3.Security. We do not guarantee that Your Files will not be subject to misappropriation, loss or damage and we will not be liable if they are. You're responsible for maintaining appropriate security, protection and backup of Your Files.

    1. ttuk

      not surprising

      auto renewing subscriptions are commonplace as are are free trials that automatically start paying untill you explicitly cancel, I doubt it would take many people by surprise..

      As for the access rights to files and security, what do you expect for free or < a few $ a month.. enterprise level backup solutions are expensive corporates spend thousands on backup systems that can still fail and guaranteeeing every one of the thousands of peoples files who used the service would be stupid..

      Unfortunately I guess there are some people out there that will expect that a free service will still absoloutely guarantee their files, people need to learn if you want a 100% secure cloud backup it will cost big $$$ better to just shell out for a portable hard disk as your main backup solution

  29. General Ned Ludd

    Cloud, my arse!

    I'd assume anyone who actually listens to music is likely to already have an mp3 player with more capacity than this... unless it can hold more music than my phone/ipod/sd/whatevericarryaroundwithme(tm) then I don't really see the point.

  30. Nick Pettefar


    Storage may be free but using it not. The networks don't seem interested in providing data for free I've noticed.

    Where I work they disallow streaming, can't even listen to the Beeb radio, because of the crap networks.

    Yesterday we suffered yet another power-cut. My iPod didn't notice this and continued to work.

    Surely some people would be hesitant to upload their mostly illegal music onto Amazon's servers? They seem fairly subservient to government and most likely industry pressure (Wikileaks for example) and if there was an investigation then they have you banged to rights with your details and the music evidence.

  31. David Cantrell

    Pointless title, which must contain letters and/or digits.

    Amazon didn't get in first. tried this over ten years ago, as, as reported in El Reg in May 2000:

  32. Gary Riches


    @Anonymous Coward:Whats the point?

    As David 63 just go to giffgaff. Unlimited data, unlimited texts, free 0800 numbers and 250 minutes for £10 a month.

  33. NoneSuch Silver badge

    16 GB SD Cards

    ...are roughly 20 quid.

    quod erat demonstrandum

  34. Floormeister

    Missed key part of "service"

    I am very surprised that in all the noise about this service nobody mentioned the fact you can only download one file at a time. So, of course, this is not a backup service and it is unlikely to be of much interest to pirates (although I suppose you could make that one file a large zip).

    This is a huge issue for purchasers of Amazon electronic files that right to the cloud. Let's say over the course of a few months you buy 100 songs. Now, you want to use another cloud service. You will have to download all those 100 songs (or more if you are so inclined). So, this is actually a pretty inconvenient service for Amazon MP3 buyers. Your current download app will get the files on your hard drive and you could then use the Cloud upload app which is a lot of work for a "convenient" and symbiotic service.

    For me, I could make use of this as a server for my files (upload is pretty slow but if you are patient) if I was needing access out and about (and had a supported device) but I do not.

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