Amazon will unlock 256 Kbps versions of music files stored on your PC via a revamped Cloud Player. Instant Video is also now available on Apple's iPad.
Amazon said on Tuesday that it has landed licensing agreements with Sony Music Entertainment, EMI Music, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and more than 150 independent distributors, aggregators and music publishers. This agreement will allow Amazon's scan and match technology to scan the user's PC for music, and then match those files with high-quality 256 Kbps tracks already stored in the cloud.
"We are constantly striving to deliver the best possible customer experience for Cloud Player, and today we are offering our customers a significant set of new features, including scan and match technology and audio quality upgrade," said Steve Boom, Vice President of Digital Music at Amazon. "We are happy to have such broad industry support in enabling these features for customers."
According to Amazon, the company is separating Cloud Drive and Cloud Player. Drive will now handle all non-audio files while Player will solely be used for storing and streaming music files. That also means Amazon has changed its pricing, now offering six yearly Cloud Drive subscription plans outside the 5 GB of free storage, as follows:
5 GB + Cloud Player Free = Free
20 GB + Cloud Player Free = $10 per year
50 GB + Cloud Player Premium = $25 per year
100 GB + Cloud Player Premium = $50 per year
200 GB + Cloud Player Premium = $100 per year
500 GB + Cloud Player Premium = $250 per year
1000 GB + Cloud Player Premium = $500 per year
For those who merely want to use Amazon Cloud Player, Free customers can store all MP3 music purchased at Amazon, plus import up to 250 songs from their PC or Mac to Cloud Player, all at no charge. Cloud Player Premium customers can import and store up to 250,000 songs in Cloud Player for an annual fee of $24.99.
Amazon MP3 purchases -- including music that customers purchased in the past -- are automatically saved to Cloud Player and do not count against the 250 and 250,000 limit. All matched songs – even music purchased from iTunes or ripped from CDs – are instantly made available in Cloud Player and are upgraded for free to high-quality 256 Kbps audio. Music that customers have already uploaded to Cloud Player also will be upgraded.
Amazon Cloud Player is automatically integrated into Kindle Fire and the new Cloud Player features will be automatically delivered to Kindle Fire users over the next few days, the company said. Any customer with a Kindle Fire, Android device, iPhone, iPod touch, or any web browser -- and soon, a Roku streaming player or Sonos home entertainment system -- can play their music anywhere.
In addition to announcing its new scan and match service, Amazon said on Wednesday that it has extended its Instant Video service support to Apple's iPad. Now Amazon customers can purchase/rent and stream movies and TV shows directly to their iOS tablet. Even more, Amazon's Instant Video app will allow Prime members to access the exclusive video subscription service, allowing them to stream hit TV shows like Glee, Downton Abbey and Fringe, or popular movies such as Mission: Impossible 3, Mean Girls and Ocean’s Eleven, at no additional cost.
"We want to give customers the convenience of being able to watch all of their movies and TV episodes, wherever they are, on their iPad," said Anthony Bay, Amazon.com vice president for video. "Today we’re excited to extend our ‘buy once, enjoy everywhere’ approach to iPad, giving customers the chance to enjoy more than 120,000 titles from Amazon Instant Video and more than 20,000 titles from Prime Instant Video anytime, anywhere."
Previously Amazon Instant Video was limited to a number of devices like the Kindle Fire, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, several set-top boxes and more.