There's been a lot of talk about storing our media in "the cloud" over the past few years, but not a lot of action. We've seen start-ups such as mSpot and MP3tunes tackle the music locker idea while options like SugarSync and Dropbox lure people looking for more general file backup solutions. Still, no one yet has been able to push a cloud storage service into the mainstream. With Cloud Drive, Amazon.com is hoping to change that.
The online megastore's Cloud Drive online storage service starts with a free 5GB base plan that can be increased to 20GB, 50GB, 100GB, 200GB, 500GB, and 1,000GB, priced at $1 per gigabyte, per year (so that a 100GB plan costs $100 per year). For a limited time, customers who purchase an album from Amazon's MP3 store are automatically upgraded to a 20GB trial account for one year.
What do you get?
The promise of a product like Amazon's Cloud Drive is that you can upload all of the precious media files from all of your computers and devices (home, work, phone) to one common place, so that you're never stranded without access to your digital media.
Aside from Amazon's handy cross-platform uploader and downloader utilities and its browser-based tools for viewing, downloading, and streaming your stuff, Amazon is also throwing in a Cloud Player feature within the Amazon MP3 application for Android. Using the free app, you can stream all the music you have stored in the cloud, or download your tracks on the fly for offline playback.
How does it work?
Once you've chosen your plan on Amazon's site, you'll be prompted to download and install an MP3 Uploader tool that runs within the Mac- and PC-compatible Adobe Air platform (a separate download if you don't already have it). After Amazon's software is installed, it will run a quick scan of your drive, report on how many music files you have available to upload, and show you how much storage is available with your current plan.
If you don't have room for your whole collection, you can use the software to manually select which artists, songs, or playlists you'd like to upload.