I make no bones of the fact that Amazon's MP3 service is my favored music playback option on Android, and the service just got a big update to compete with its primary rival - Google Music. The general changelog is here, but it's a little difficult to parse, so I'll give you the gist.

  • Imported file matching to Amazon MP3 library. This is big. Any time you import music into Amazon Cloud Player, before the file is uploaded, Amazon scans the entirety of the eligible Amazon MP3 library and if it finds a match, just adds that file to your Cloud Player library. That means the song doesn't have to actually upload - you just have it. I've tested it, it works, and really well. If you have the 20GB promotional subscription to Cloud Player, it's worth starting the importing now - it goes crazy fast, and the import tool works great.


  • More file types are supported for import (assuming it can't find a matching track). Amazon MP3 will now allow you to directly upload MP3 and M4A (AAC and Apple Lossless) files, and if it finds a matching track to place in your library, you can also use WMA, WAV, OGG, FLAC, and AIFF files for the matching process (these cannot actually be uploaded, just used for the matching process).
  • Did you purchase an MP3 on Amazon way back when before Cloud Player even existed? Amazon will now take those old purchases and automatically add them to Cloud Player (if they're eligible), and they won't count against your storage quota. If it can find an upgraded 256Kbps version, it'll use that as well (your original files will be preserved, too).
  • Metadata can now be edited directly from Cloud Player, and there's now a "get info from Amazon" option to auto-populate track and album information.

The Android app has been updated as well, though the changes are basically just things required to make it compatible with all this new stuff, apparently.

This certainly gives Amazon MP3 another leg up on Google Music, and even iTunes. Amazon has also introduced a new pricing tier as part of the update - $25 a year for 50GB (250,000 songs) of storage. For those of you keeping track at home, that's about $2 per month, which is less than what Google charges for 25GB of its own unified storage. The 20GB option is $10 a year. The only drawback is that the free version of Cloud Player now only allows for you to have 250 non-Amazon MP3 tunes. Be sure to check it out - I know I'm really thinking of dropping that 25 bucks and never looking back at Google Music.

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Itchy_Robot

    How is this better than Google Music? GM storage is free ... Amazon is pay.
    Very misleading article.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Google Music is free for 20,000 songs. Amazon has a vastly superior selection of titles, and song-matching is a very big deal. If you purchase all your music through Amazon MP3, all those titles are free on Cloud Player as well. Only imported songs cause you to go outside the free tier, if you have more than 250.

      • squiddy20

        How many people have over 20,000 songs though? And then, even if you have more than 20,000 songs, wouldn't you rather have some/most of them stored in the cloud for *free* rather than having to pay for it?

        • Brad Kuhn

          I'm currently at 69,000 with probably another 10-20k still to upload. For $20/year my storage is unlimited - a great bargain, IMO. I do have some complaints about the Amazon product (sometimes the art work gets mangled on upload, the UI handles multi-artist albums very poorly, and worst off you can't edit tags) - I'm hoping Amazon gets around to fixing these things in the future - but for cloud storage, you can't beat it.

          • http://roofus.me/ RoofusKit

            Yeah, I bet you purchased a lot of those...

          • Brad Kuhn

            A lot (none through Amazon, though), but I collect live recordings, which makes up the bulk of those.

    • thistimearound

      It's better because it's faster and offers a better selection at lower prices. The desktop app is better, and many people got 20gb for free for a year.

    • Steve Freeman

      Because if you have relatively crappy 64k or 128k rips, it'll automatically "give" you CD (I'm assuming) quality rips instead to play using the cloud player.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

        Eh, not CD quality, but high enough that anyone but a crazy audiophile with thousands of dollars of equipment can't reasonably need or appreciate any higher quality.

        • http://roofus.me/ RoofusKit

          I can tell the difference between 256k and 320k with the shittiest of equipment. You just have to know how the songs sound when encoded at a higher bitrate to hear the difference when they're encoded at a lower one.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

            Yeah, no you can't, unless the MP3 decoder is a really, really old version of LAME or something. I don't claim to be an audio expert, but I know enough to know that anyone who claims to be able to hear the difference between 256Kbps and 320Kbps is either talking out of their ass or having a major case of placebo effect.

            Edit: I'll say that maybe, maybe - if you have "one in a million" ears, you MIGHT be able to tell the difference on good equipment.

          • http://roofus.me/ RoofusKit

            If a song is complex and layered enough, you will lose subtleties, even between those two bitrates.

            I'm not trying to be a crazy audiophile here (because I am definitely not one), I've just actually had this experience. And it wasn't a case where I was looking for it.

  • RichA

    I am not giving up on Google Music, but I may drop $25 for a year. After seeing this article, I logged into my Amazon Cloud acct., and it is scanning now, and imported 100 tracks that I had purchased before Cloud Player came along.

    • John O’Connor

      Scanning now myself. How does it determine where your music is? I have all of my music on a network shared external so that it is accessible throughout my house

      • RichA

        I'm not at home, it started scanning the files I had already uploaded via the web interface. At home,Ii have mine on my HD, it says it scans your WMP or iTunes library, so it is probably looking in the default locations where these programs default to. I haven't checked out Amazon's Cloud app, but there has to be a way to point it to an external drive in the preferences.

  • http://btwnworlds.tumblr.com/ Lou G

    I won't give up on GMusic, but I might give Amazon a try. Especially if they have a Linux uploader (I don't use Apple or Windows products anymore.)

  • http://twitter.com/magiman7 magiman7

    I thought that music purchased via Google Play also does not count against the space quota. If that is the case than Amazon doing the same is not an example of "superior" service. Bottom line though, I get more free storage with Google than Amazon which means it is a better free service

    • http://roofus.me/ RoofusKit

      You are correct, music purchased through Google Play does not count against, your 20,000 song upload limit. There are no space restrictions beyond that.

      I'd also like to point out that Google Play's music files are higher bitrate, for anyone who cares.

  • http://smidgensjourney.wordpress.com/ Jim L

    Since day one I thought Amazon offered a better product than Google Music. Free doesn't always mean better, and this is a perfect example.

  • http://twitter.com/realnudel Meowski Catovitch

    Cloud stuff is US only according to the Play blurb.

    Can this thing do gapless playback?

  • http://www.facebook.com/alexslx Alexandre Leites

    256Kbps MP3? I can't live with this. I have my own lib of FLAC songs sorted by theirs albuns, artists, and such. Cloud solutions still very bad for now...

    • LazarusDark

      I prefer flac when possible as well, as I have quality speakers at home and in the car. But if I'm listening to music on my phone or tab through headphones, even good ones, I can live with mp3 if needed. Right now, unless you are on wifi, streaming flac is not ideal, mostly do to the high bitrate. You'd be killing your wallet if you're on a 2-5gb cell data plan. So, if you are going to listen to flac on the go, you'd be better off with local storage anyway, so streaming services would be irrelevant.
      Also, even if you are on wifi, its not ideal for the cloud based business, as from their perspective they would be using much more bandwidth per user for something most people wouldn't notice; and to be sure, most people wouldn't notice the difference between flac and 256k mp3 on thier cheapo headphones through a phone which possibly has a cheap DAC anyway. So the cloud providers likely see this as a waste of bandwidth.

      • http://www.facebook.com/alexslx Alexandre Leites

        I agree with everything that you said. I have a good headphone (ath-m50) and i can feel the difference between mp3 and flacs on my rips for example. Maybe they can provide 320kbps CBR mp3... they're good (you can feel the difference, but you can live with this) and reduces my 300GB to around 80GB of music. I'm just posting this to show that cloud have a long time to replace local storage, but the companies are making a big merchandise on it. I just use to backup my important docs and such.

    • Gr8Ray

      Google Music accepted the last FLAC album I uploaded as a test, and streams it back to me at 320 Kbps.

  • http://www.facebook.com/carlos.baldera.92 Carlos Baldera

    I'm liking this. if i understand correctly, it's doing the same thing as iTunes match minus the annual fee Apple charges?

  • Paul Gray

    First one to launch in the UK market gets my vote. Currently can't get either :(

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1106303560 Mark Boyle

    initially when i subscribed to Amazon MP3 20gb service, I was surprised to see that an album I bought a few years ago wasn't in the cloud player, but I hope this will address it.

  • Chad Kitching

    Wake me when they offer service in countries that aren't the United States.

  • Sootie

    Might be the hacker in me coming out but couldnt I just grab the list of all music on amazon and create .mp3 files with the correct id3 tags and files names and suddenly "legitimately" own all songs on amazon in 256k quality?

    • JG

      There would have to be a slight modification to your plan... For you to get the entire Amazon library (for free at least) it'd have to look like you purchased all of the tracks through Amazon. I read somewhere (probably when Google Music came out & there was talk about how they'd handle piracy detection) that Amazon (& et al) embed a special watermark into the files when you download them, linking the file to your account.

      I'm wondering how long it'll be until someone publishes a nice little app that I just enter my Amazon ID & point it to the directory I want it to work on and sit back while it adds the watermark to all selected files.

      Then once its done, all I'd have to do is launch the uploader, and a few seconds later, Amazon thinks my entire 120+GB MP3 collection was bought from them and is on my new account, without using a single byte of my free space...

      • http://roofus.me/ RoofusKit

        You don't think Amazon would have a record of what you've purchased from them?

        • JG

          OK party pooper :p I just re-read the article... And yeah, it could be read that Amazon will automatically add your older purchases to your cloud account without you doing anything. When I read it initially, I was going under the impression I would have to use Amazon's uploading program and when it noticed the watermark it'd authorize my account to access that song without debiting the size... I figured if I had to re-upload the files, then they likely would rely solely on the watermark and not on previous purchases. But... I stand corrected.

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  • jammer

    Now with a 250 song limit unless you pay $25/year.

  • http://twitter.com/cj1171 Chris Jansen

    Very displeased. I dunno if it's my tags or what, but it only matched around 1000 of my 4800 tracks I had uploaded. And I KNOW a fair number of what it didn't match is on their catalog...any way to batch fix this? Seems like it's a pretty bad deal to me so far...

  • Dave

    Some of these changes by Amazon are good, but trying to woo iTunes users is a foolish play for an insignificant niche (Apple's mindless herd) within another insignificant niche (Top 40 pushing itself on the web). Anyone who's seriously knowledgeable about the internet music movement knows both of these groups are irrelevant. The vast majority of netcisians (internet musicians) are unsigned novices posting their own work for free. These creative individuals are outside the control of big music industry dinosaurs and Apple's iCult of creepy, self-centered blowhards. Apple's over rated and over priced products on the world market are miniscule, and just like commercial music on the internet, both are about as significant as a mouse fart in a tornado.

    • Gr8Ray

      "creepy, self-centered blowhards"
      Pot, meet kettle.

  • Dave

    People caught up in the "Cloud" mania forget that false accusations of music piracy are being used to prosecute downloaders, without any due process. This includes songs posted by artists themselves for free download, which is the vast majority on the internet. Most web artists don't register with the RIAA or use file ID tags on their tracks. So-called "scanning" software could classify them as bootleg music. It's part of an overall scheme by big record companies trying to regain their control of all music publishing:
    1) herd everyone back into Top 40 commercial garbage
    2) criminalize those who download music by unsigned musicians
    3) stop artists from uploading their own work, even on their own personal websites
    Think about that before uploading any media library that's viewable by the Recording Industrial Complex or corrupt politicians on its payroll.

  • Matthew Fry

    Switching to Google Music... I uploaded 1000 songs to Amazon and now I'm screwed unless I pay. I'm not paying for the continued privilege to listen to my own music collection.