Services & Software

Amazon Cloud Player streams your MP3s online, in UK today

Amazon has launched its Cloud Player music service over here in the UK, with the ability to store up to 250,000 songs.

Amazon's Cloud Player went live in the UK today, allowing users this side of the pond to store and play music over the web or via dedicated apps on smart phones -- a feature which has been available in the US for over a year.

The launch comes a few weeks after the retail giant announced its expanded range of Kindle Fire tablets are also heading our way, along with its Dropbox rival Amazon Cloud Drive -- a service which gives you 5GB of free online storage and is upgradable up to 1,000GB (for a hefty £320 per year).

The new Cloud Player will not eat into your Drive storage, however. Instead you can get space for 250 songs for free, with a premium 250,000-song option available at £22 a year.

I tried it out and when I first logged in, I was met with all of my previous Amazon music purchases ready to go. Better yet, any MP3s you buy through the website are stored for no additional charge and don't count against your storage space -- a sensible incentive to buy through the company.

You can access the Cloud Player anywhere with up to 10 personal devices allowed to be registered, besting iTunes, which only allows for 5. You can get going straight through the Amazon UK website from your Mac or PC, or download the iPhone or Android app for your smart phone.

From the mobile app you can access all of your Cloud music and even download it straight to the device. From my brief personal experience of it today it seems to work really well, with 3G streaming to my knackered old iPhone 4 working seamlessly.

The Cloud Player works in a similar way to iTunes Match. All the music you import is scanned and matched to Amazon's catalogue of around 20 million songs. Matched music is instantly available in Cloud Player as high-quality 256kbps audio, and any MP3 and AAC files that can't be matched are uploaded.

Match also costs £22 a year, but offers space for only 25,000 non-iTunes-bought to be uploaded -- a tenth of Amazon's effort.

To celebrate its Cloud Player launch, Amazon has issued a promotional code for 99p album downloads, which can be immediately transferred to Cloud Player once they've been purchased to get you going.

What do you think of Amazon's Cloud Player? Will it be the deciding factor to get you using Amazon's Music Store? Or will it fuel your Kindle Fire buying decision? Let me know in the comments or over on our Facebook Wall.