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Amazon's Cloud Drive Ruffles Music Industry

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Grab some popcorn and pull up a chair because this is gonna be good. Amazon just edged ever closer to world domination by offering a free cloud service that lets customers access their music from a range of devices. It's basically a huge eff-you to the record labels, with whom Amazon is still in negotiation over streaming rights. One anonymous executive put it to Reuters this way: "[It's] somewhat stunning... I've never seen a company of their size make an announcement, launch a service and simultaneously say they're trying to get licenses."

Amazon told All Things Digital that it doesn't need licenses for music storage. What is less clear is whether or not it need licenses for streaming. (In fact, the labels themselves do not seem to be clear on that either.) Insiders told Reuters that unlicensed streaming might be illegal; in 2007, a similar storage locker service was sued by EMI for copyright infringement. EMI didn't win, but the mere threat of the label litigation seems to have kept many from pursuing lockers.

Obviously it makes great business sense for Amazon to go after this market, but the ancillary benefit could be huge. Amazon is one of just a handful of companies with the resources to stand up to the music industry on this one. Like we said, sit back and enjoy.

Tags: amazon,, AmazonCloudDrive, AmazonCloudPlayer, android, cloud, CloudStorage, mp3, music, MusicLockers, RecordLabel, top, web

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