Amazon, Samsung ramp up iTunes attack

Caroline Gabriel/Wireless Watch
07 Aug 2012

Rushing in to attack are Amazon, which has finally announced full licensing agreements for its Cloud Player, and Samsung, which has launched Music Hub in the US.

Like Google‘s initial cloud music offerings, Amazon got round the need for licensing negotiations with the big labels by limiting Cloud Player to storing and managing tracks which users already owned. Now, customers will be able to purchase and stream music directly from the cloud store, as well as getting a new scan-and-match function similar to that on iTunes.

The retailer will hope its deals with Sony Music Entertainment, EMI Music, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and more than 150 independents, will boost the appeal of the digital content services which are critical to its business model – and make its Kindle Fire gadgets more attractive in the process, although the content is available from any iOS or Android device as well as via the browser. The songs will also soon be available via Roku‘s streaming service or Sonos‘s home entertainment systems.

As well as buying new tracks, customers can scan all the music on their hard drives, whether purchased in iTunes, Windows Media Player, Amazon MP3 or compact discs, and play them with Cloud Player. Amazon will offer a free version that lets users import as many as 250 songs, and a premium version for $24.99 a year that will allow storage of 250,000 songs.

Meanwhile, Samsung has extended its Music Hub offering to the US, after launching it in Europe. This harnesses its recent acquisition of mSpot, a mobile cloud content service provider which developed a product similar to Cloud Player and Google Music.

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