Amazon's Prime Music service, a free add-on for anyone who's already a Prime subscriber, launched to a resounding "meh." The app and service functions well enough, but with plenty of alternatives both free and paid, Amazon's boast of "over one million songs" rang somewhat hollow. As a Prime subscriber myself, I saw it as a nice perk, but it's no reason to stop paying for Google Play Music All Access as well.
If you've been paying attention to the tech rumor mill as of late, you probably know that Amazon has been planning to buff up its Prime subscription service with a musical component. The web retail giant flipped the switch last night, and now Amazon MP3 is Amazon Music. If you already have a subscription to Amazon Prime (which offers free 2-day shipping and access to Netflix-style streaming TV and movies), then you're now subscribed to Prime Music, the service's premium competitor to Spotify and Google Music All Access.
When a catchy song pops up on the radio, during a television commercial, or over the speakers of a general department store, and you don't know who is singing, it's time to whip out Shazam. Now if you live in the US and take the time to Shazam a song - allow your phone to listen to and figure out what is playing - it will reward you with $1.29 in Amazon MP3 credit.
The Amazon Android app has just received an update that should affect more than just your shopping. Now the company's apps support single sign-in. When you log into one, you're automatically signed into the other ones that are installed on your device. This works with the main shopping app, Amazon MP3, the Amazon Appstore, and the Kindle app.
Upon my extensive hands-on testing of this complex feature, everything seems to work just fine.
It's been nearly a year and a half since we last wrote about the Amazon MP3 app, because that's the last time the company did anything interesting with it. Compared to the competition at Google and elsewhere, Amazon's iTunes competitor looks positively stale. Today the Amazon MP3 app gets a fresh coat of paint to bring it more in line with current visual trends, or at least, those trends that are on display in the Kindle Fire tablets.
Like the U.S. Cloud Player, any purchases made on Amazon's MP3 store can be stored online free of charge. If users want to upload their music library to Cloud Player, they can store 250 tracks for free. Users with larger libraries can pay £21.99 per year for the premium service, which can store up to 250,000 tracks.
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.
Google Music is old hat. Sorry, guys - it's true. Streaming? Amazon's Cloud Player and iTunes iCloud both have it. Locker storage? Amazon gives you a decent amount, too - and they might even increase it if they feel Google Music is one-upping them. Purchase options? Apple and Amazon both have more music you can purchase digitally, including titles from Warner Music Group (which Google Music does not have), where many major contemporary artists are signed.
Google's Music service has been an incomplete experience since its unveiling at Google I/O back in May. While Music Beta does allow you to upload your songs and stream them to your Android device, it lacks any kind of storefront. Google does have a small library of featured free tunes for Music users, but I can't say any of the albums or artists there have ever really interested me too much.
Miro is an open-sourced, free solution to your media problems with Android. It's touted as an all-in-one solution, and with its feature list, I'm not about to disagree. It offers a media player, BitTorrent client, video encoder, music store and device sync component all wrapped up in a single program, which covers some of the problems Android has run into without its own downloadable client.
With your phone connected to your computer, you can use Miro to sync music and video to your phone.