Ripped tracks free to customers for purchases in last decade
Amazon has extended its AutoRip service to the United Kingdom and Europe, following a successful launch in the United States. The service provides a digital copy of physical albums bought through the retailer, with songs automatically appearing in the user's Amazon Cloud Player as MP3 files, which saves the user time in ripping tracks from the CD, as well as providing the music early without having to wait for the CD to arrive.
New 256Kbps bitrate, separated from Cloud Drive storage
The Amazon Cloud Player has received some upgrades, along with some new licensing agreements. A new scan-and-match service covering iTunes and Windows Media Player libraries matches songs to Amazon's 20 million track catalog, and makes them available to the Cloud Player app (Google Play, App Store) at a new 256Kbps bitrate at no extra charge, including tracks that have already been uploaded to the service.
Apple resets iTunes Match ahead of public launch
Apple told developers late Wednesday that it was resetting their iTunes Match accounts for what's likely the last time before the end of October launch. Its need to upgrade the "overall quality and reliability" of the cloud music service would require that the existing accounts be reset on October 27. Those signed up in the beta phase have been told to turn off iTunes Match on all their computers and iOS devices to avoid connection problems during the shutdown.
Google Music Beta reaches iPhome, iPad over web
Google's fledgling Music Beta service reached a non-Android mobile platform for the first time Thursday with a web app intended for iOS devices. Visitors can stream any music they've uploaded to the cloud system through Safari, without having to use a native app or Flash. The only known limitation is the expected inability to pin tracks to the device for offline use.
Amazon Kindle tablet to be 7in, ship November
Amazon's by now virtually certain Android tablet has supposedly not only been nine inches, TechCrunch understood it to be seven inches and resemble the BlackBerry PlayBook. True to the budget focus, it would only use two-finger multi-touch to cut costs and wouldn't have cameras.
Amazon tablet again seen being cheap, due in month
Amazon's repeatedly rumored Android tablet was once again slipped out again with a rumor late in the week. The design's cost-cutting should lead to it costing "hundreds less" than the $499 of Apple's iPad. It should ship sometime in late September or October, the NY Post was told.
Ruling could leave door open for locker services
MP3tunes has lost a copyright infringement lawsuit originally filed by EMI, however the judge tossed many of the record label's DMCA claims that were viewed as a threat to other music locker services. Judge William Pauley agreed that MP3tunes violated EMI copyrights by failing to remove pirated tracks from its customers' music lockers after pulling the same listings from Sideload.com, a music search engine that operated alongside the locker service.
Twitter, Facebook icons added to Cloud Player
Amazon has expanded the social networking functionality available in the company's Cloud Player utility, enabling users to take advantage of Facebook and Twitter sharing. The online retailer has updated the web-based interface with dedicated icons for publishing Twitter posts and Facebook status updates. Posts include links to the Cloud Player and Amazon MP3 downloads for select tracks.
Nielsen sees first recovery in US music in 7 years
Nielsen SoundScan on Wednesday reported the first increase in American album sales since 2004. Total album sales in the US for the first half of 2011 were up one percent year-to-year to hit 155.5 million. Pure digital sales were growing faster at 660 million individual tracks, up 10 percent, and 221.5 million album equivalents, a boost of 3.6 percent.
Amazon fights iTunes Match with new Cloud Player
Amazon upped the ante against Apple's iTunes Match late Wednesday with major upgrades to Cloud Player and its first mobile support beyond Android. Those who get a paid Cloud Drive subscription will, for a "limited time," get unlimited space for any AAC- or MP3-encoded music on Cloud Player, regardless of the source. Any user can also store Amazon MP3 purchases from before the service's March launch for free rather than just those they bought afterwards.
Amazon back to negotiating for deeper Cloud Player
A seeming off-hand reference after repeating leaks of Amazon's tablet plans has revealed that Amazon is back into negotiations to improve Cloud Player. The company is "very engaged" with music labels to go beyond the upload-only service it launched with before. Progress and the nature of the services weren't mentioned to AllThingsD's sources for the claim.
Best Buy Music Cloud hits for desk, iOS, Android
Best Buy in an uncharacteristic step jumped into the cloud music space on Wednesday with Best Buy Music Cloud. The service lets users share their iTunes music collections either over the web or through mobile apps, including Android, BlackBerry, and iOS users. Much akin to Amazon Cloud Player or Google Music Beta, listeners have to upload music themselves, although a desktop app will automatically push new iTunes additions to the cloud space.
Sterne Agee believes iCloud could hurt RIM
Apple's iCloud launch could compound RIM's troubles competing with the BlackBerry, Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu said in a research note Friday. The cloud music element of the service could make "collateral damage" by giving iPhone owners access to an always-available music service the BlackBerry didn't necessarily have. As some of the service might be free, it would mimic some of the push mail functionality of a BlackBerry but wouldn't carry the revenue burdens with what RIM offers to carriers, reducing networks' incentives to promote the BlackBerry over an iPhone.
Apple gets last iCloud music deal with Universal
Insiders slipped word Thursday afternoon that Apple had completed the last of the major deals it needed to fully license iCloud. The deal would have all four major labels onboard. At least "some" of their publisher partners have signed on as well, CNET understood.
iCloud should have all deals this week
A follow-up leak Tuesday afternoon backed beliefs that Apple was near wrapping up iCloud music deals. EMI, Sony, and Warner were onboard, but Universal's deal was still on target to wrap up this week, just before iCloud is due to be unveiled at WWDC. The Wall Street Journal source added that the separate publishers also expected their deals to close up at the same time, though these weren't as sure.
Apple close on Universal, publishers due soon
More detail slips emerged on Friday that Apple was about to wrap up deals for its cloud music offering. Universal, the last to go through, was "about to sign" its agreement. Publishers were still unsigned, but the AP source said their deals were due to wrap up "soon."
Apple gets EMI for cloud music, near done
Music label insiders revealed late Wednesday that Apple had signed on EMI for its cloud music service. The company had already landed Warner for its service, so far known as iCloud, and now had half the major labels it needed. The contacts informed CNET that only Sony and Universal were left and that their deals were close enough that they could be ready by next week.
Music labels hint Apple cloud music tops Google
Music label insiders said Wednesday that they understood Apple's iCloud music to be better than services like Amazon's Cloud Player or Google Music Beta. They claimed that neither of the existing services could have the "same range of options" without saying what those were. In passing information along to CNET, they were worried Amazon and Google would get acceptance and wouldn't upgrade service, hinting that they thought Apple planned to charge for its option.
Amazon Cloud Player enabled for iOS on web
Amazon in an unannounced step extended an olive branch to iPad and iPhone users by fixing Cloud Player access over the web. Having previously been denied access, iOS users can now play songs from Safari much as they would on the desktop. It works with multiple tracks and will even pause properly for an incoming phone call.
Amazon drops current hits to 69 cents in rivalry
Amazon possibly raised the stakes in US music on Friday with a major shift in its 69-cent section in Amazon MP3. Instead of selling mostly older or niche songs, the store is currently selling songs that are or were very recently hits, including singles from Dr. Dre and Talib Kweli. No signs existed that it was a temporary sale.
Apple iTunes media locker said done before Google
Multiple sources claimed Thursday that Apple has already completed its rumored cloud media locker. The service would let iTunes users store music online to stream it back as long as they have a fast Internet connection. Apple still hadn't finished getting licenses, Reuters understood, but the service was technically ready.
Reuters reports Amazon to engage in private talks
Amazon is reported to be meeting with angry music label bosses to hash out a deal on its new streaming Cloud Drive digital music locker service. Parties at the table are expected to include Universal Music, Sony Music, Warner and EMI. Amazon had maintained at launch that its existing licence to sell music downloads permitted it to allow customers to store and stream music purchased through its site to mobile and other devices. However, record labels contend that the Cloud Drive service should be subject to a music streaming licence.
Now official for web, Android devices
[Update: Sony, other media companies upset by early announcement] Amazon in the night unveiled its rumored media locker and beat Apple and Google in the process. Cloud Drive gives users a way to store a minimum of 5GB of files on the web and access them from any Mac or PC. The company has a unique tie-in with Amazon MP3: any songs bought through the music store are saved to the Cloud Drive and available either for backup or for remote streaming without counting towards the quota.