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Cloud Music Entertainment

Amazon Matches iTunes Match With New 'Audio Upgrade' Feature 157

Posted by Soulskill
from the lifetime-supply-of-bitrates dept.
New submitter bostonidealist writes "Just after the July 6th 1-year anniversary of its unlimited music storage promotion (and presumably after early subscribers have all renewed their annual subscriptions), Amazon.com has changed the way its Cloud Player and Cloud Drive services work. Starting today, music uploaded to a Cloud Drive will count against its owner's Cloud Drive quota and will not be accessible through Cloud Player. Further, music files previously uploaded to Cloud Player or Cloud Drive are being automatically converted to 256 Kbps audio whenever Amazon 'has the rights to do so' and new audio files uploaded to Cloud Player will automatically be checked against Amazon's music database in iTunes Match-like fashion. One of the appeals of Amazon's Cloud Player service up to this point has been that users could pay a flat fee and store an unlimited number of their own music files (with their own tags, artwork, and audio data intact). Now, Amazon is automatically replacing users' previously uploaded data with its own, without allowing users to opt in/out."
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Amazon Matches iTunes Match With New 'Audio Upgrade' Feature

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @05:23AM (#40839929)

    > Now, Amazon is automatically replacing users' previously uploaded data with its own, without allowing users to opt in/out

    *Exactly* why cloud services are for retards only. You would have to be a complete moron to trust a third party with your personal data. A complete and utter moron.

    • by justforgetme (1814588) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @05:41AM (#40840015) Homepage

      See what I did to the titel there? Yep, I added a "NOT" negating it.

      Amazon being unfair does not mean that cloud technology is unfair just that there is no "unlimited storage for free" solution.
      Every service you obtain from someone comes with it's cost. My personal opinion is that - given you are capable of handling
      the complexity - you just do it yourself and incur the, usually decent pricetag in favor of privacy/certainty.
      Using a cloud infrastructure provider (like aws) you can cloudify all your assets without a problem. Of course certainty (and
      often paranoia) dictates that you at least manage to have secured backups of your static data, like, images, video, music and
      db dumps on the ground.

      Of course all the above takes for granted that you are not an idiot and actually can live with your own custom cloud.

      • by Hentes (2461350) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @07:31AM (#40840527)

        While a cloud service provider isn't necessarily like Amazon, this is a prime example of why the cloud can't be trusted: you are at the mercy of the service provider, and if they alter the deal you can only pray they don't alter it further.

        • by poetmatt (793785)

          You are at the mercy of who you choose for the service provider. Which, as justforgetme pointed out, can be yourself. So no, this isn't a "cloud issue" as much as this is an "amazon issue" as everyone has stated. What's to stop people from hosting things themselves? Nothing.

          • by dgatwood (11270)

            In common usage, the term "cloud" refers to an alternative to setting up servers yourself, in which somebody else maintains all the infrastructure for you so that you don't have to. In principle, you could become a cloud provider, but then other people would presumably be at your mercy. Either way, a private server with a single user is not generally considered to be a cloud. It is just a private server.

            • by poetmatt (793785)

              Which is exactly correct.

              The difference between private server and 3rd party hosted private server is nothing. Cloud is just a marketing phrase and still doesn't reflect anything that hasn't already existed for 5-10 years minimum.

      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        >>Amazon being unfair does not mean that cloud technology is unfair just that there is no "unlimited storage for free" solution.

        99.9% of all governments having a history of genocide towards their own citizens does not mean there is no good government somewhere. Still I'd prefer not to trust any government rather than take the 999-to-1 odds that I will get screwed. Likewise I'd prefer not to trust any stranger with my data on their cloud, since the odds of screwage are way too high. (Also the same

    • by bjwest (14070) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @05:57AM (#40840099)

      Actually, I think music one of the few good uses for this so called cloud thing. One easy to connect to location for my desktop, laptop, tablet, cell and automobile to connect to my music library is a good thing. No need to worry about keeping things in sync or forgetting to transfer that new song you like over to the device you have on hand at the moment. But like anything, if you keep your one and only copy in there, you get what you deserve.

    • by squiggleslash (241428) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @06:42AM (#40840297) Homepage Journal

      You would have to be a complete moron to trust a third party with your personal data. A complete and utter moron

      Amazon's cloud service stores, for free, about 5Gb of your music. The intention of cloud music services like Amazon's (and Google's, and Apple's, and Ubuntu's...) is to provide a convenient way to access your music from anywhere at any time. Your purchases from the named service get added automatically, you're encouraged to download them too, and you run a program that syncs your main music repository, which you typically continue to use, with the cloud service so everything you add to that gets added to the service. Then, when you want to access a track, playlist, or whatever, you can do so whether you're at home, at work, or in the middle of nowhere with your smartphone.

      I'm not entirely sure how that's "personal", and I'm not sure how you're defining "trust", but it's hard to see how anyone would be a moron for merely using the system. If, tomorrow, the cloud services drop off the face of the planet, you still have your music, and you can continue to use that music just as you did before the cloud service existed.

      The summary seems to invent a person who'd be personally affected by the fact that meta-data and custom encodings (maybe? Not mentioned but I'm trying to give it the benefit of the doubt) might change once music is uploaded, now, as a result of this policy change, but short of someone idiot enough to delete their music from their PC in the expectation that Amazon will store it for them - and who does that? - I can't see anyone actually being seriously affected by this move.

      Do I use them myself for anything other than music I've bought from them? No, largely because I'm too much of a cheapskate and 5Gb isn't enough to store my music collection. Actually, it probably is if I rescanned everything as HE-AAC, but that's a lot of work, I can't be bothered, and it sounds like Amazon, at least, would no longer make that useful. But at the same time, I just can't see how I'd be more than slightly inconvienenced by this move if I was a big Amazon MP3 user. And I certainly wouldn't describe someone who uses it as a moron.

      • by jenningsthecat (1525947) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @08:06AM (#40840715)

        I'm not entirely sure how that's "personal", and I'm not sure how you're defining "trust", but it's hard to see how anyone would be a moron for merely using the system... I can't see anyone actually being seriously affected by this move.

        It's very much personal. If I've stored files at 320K, then the conversion to 256K represents a loss of quality. If I'm content with 128K and Amazon converts to 256K, then they're effectively halving the number of songs per dollar that I can store. And if they also mess with my custom tags, the files are less useful to me, and it will cost me some work to restore them on Amazon's service. So basically, if someone dicks with my data without my consent, then it's personal, regardless of the extent or nature of the dicking.

        I don't use cloud services - hell, I don't even use players that 'organize' my music for me. But I can see how people will be pissed off at this latest move by Amazon. It's yet another example of the high-handed 'all of your everything are belong to us' attitude that corporations are ramming down our throats.

        • by squiggleslash (241428) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @08:38AM (#40840975) Homepage Journal

          It's very much personal. If I've stored files at 320K, then the conversion to 256K represents a loss of quality. If I'm content with 128K and Amazon converts to 256K, then they're effectively halving the number of songs per dollar that I can store. And if they also mess with my custom tags, the files are less useful to me, and it will cost me some work to restore them on Amazon's service. So basically, if someone dicks with my data without my consent, then it's personal, regardless of the extent or nature of the dicking.

          Honestly, I think you're using a different definition of the word "personal" to everyone else. It doesn't normally mean "technical attributes of files stored on a PC not being propagated across a buffered network".

          It's yet another example of the high-handed 'all of your everything are belong to us' attitude that corporations are ramming down our throats.

          Not really. It's Amazon making technical choices about a service they run. They're not even particularly radical, all things considered. In fact, I'd argue they're necessary to deliver the service as expected.

          Amazon MP3 is not a file mirroring system, it's not a remote drive. It's a way to play and sync music "from anywhere". I'd expect, given it's not a file mirroring system, them to make technical choices like this. In fact, if Amazon wants it to be more useful, I'd expect them to actually go beyond what they're doing. 256kbps is a horrible rate to standardize on if you're expecting people to stream from the service at work, or download music over 3G (or worse, EDGE) against some data quota. If Amazon makes the decision - and they should - to deliver the music, rather than the raw source files, then this is something they can fix.

          The more I think about it, the more I'd say Amazon is making the right decision here. Who's negatively affected by it? No-one. No-one is using Amazon to "store" their pristine original MP3s. So nobody is losing anything as a result of this change. Insofar as it's a problem, it's that it reduces flexibility to add more music by encoding at a lower bitrate. That's it. Metadata? You still have it. It's still stored in the originals. You can still copy those originals over to your MP3 player, just as you always have. And if you really need to transfer the originals using "the cloud", there are plenty of cloud services that are actually designed to do that. I believe Amazon even runs one...

          • Honestly, I think you're using a different definition of the word "personal" to everyone else. It doesn't normally mean "technical attributes of files stored on a PC not being propagated across a buffered network".

            From the summary: "Further, music files previously uploaded to Cloud Player or Cloud Drive are being automatically converted to 256 Kbps audio whenever Amazon 'has the rights to do so'". So they're changing the "technical attributes" of files in Cloud Drive.

            From the Amazon Cloud Drive Learn More page [amazon.com]:

            "Your Files are Secure. Never worry about losing your precious photos, documents and videos. Store them in your Cloud Drive where they will be protected from a hard drive crash or a lost or stolen laptop. Your

        • by reub2000 (705806)

          If I'm content with 128K and Amazon converts to 256K, then they're effectively halving the number of songs per dollar that I can store.

          Except they're charging per song, not mb.

      • by reub2000 (705806) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @08:37AM (#40840969)

        The intention of cloud music services like Amazon's (and Google's, and Apple's, and Ubuntu's...) is to provide a convenient way to access your music from anywhere at any time.

        No the purpose of cloud players is to keep track of what users listen to.

        • by fa2k (881632)

          No the purpose of cloud players is to keep track of what users listen to.

          Maybe, but also to make more money and lock people in to an "ecosystem".

        • by sprins (717461)

          The intention of cloud music services like Amazon's (and Google's, and Apple's, and Ubuntu's...) is to provide a convenient way to access your music from anywhere at any time.

          No the purpose of cloud players is to keep track of what users listen to.

          That tracking is actually a feature that benefits the artist who actually gets royalties when played (which is tracked). This way cloud services like iTunes Match and this Amazon service get to 'legalize' all your illegally downloaded music. The artists eventually (if you play them) get paid fairly.

          In the midst of all the humbug about illegal downloading and the music industry going down the drain, I find this a very sympathetic feature.

          • by reub2000 (705806)

            I highly doubt Amazon gives a rats ass about the artist. They want to know what music you listen to so they can recommend more music for you to buy.

      • Do I use them myself for anything other than music I've bought from them? No, largely because I'm too much of a cheapskate and 5Gb isn't enough to store my music collection.

        I never understood why people would use the services like this with such a small storage amount. My collection is too big to take with me (over 300GB) but I have an SD card on my phone (32GB of drive space I literally take with me everywhere). Only has a one time cost. Weighs virtually nothing and is the size of my pinky nail. I can use it anywhere, more places than the cloud reaches with more space than the services typically offer. I can connect it to anything that has a USB jack or microSD slot. Unless t

    • That's exactly why people should be using http://owncloud.org/ [owncloud.org]
    • It isn't your data. You don't own your brain, you merely license it from the copyright policy. Have a nice day citizen.
    • I put a 32GB SD card into my cell phone. I put headphones into my cell phone. I paid AOL $5 and got the full pro version of WinAmp with graphic equalizers and all. I can listen to my music without a working 3G signal, and I pay $10/mo for a 2GB 3G capped connection that overflows into EDGE with no additional fee (the $5/mo 500MB one stays 3G and charges you $10/GB over 500MB). I'm not transferring the same music over and over since I listen to the same song 50 times in a month.
    • by DrXym (126579)
      A more pertinent reason not to use them is Amazon know which music you own and a pretty good idea of what music you *don't* own just by its similarity to other instances of the same file residing on their server. Same for books, movies etc.
      • by Rockoon (1252108)
        I dont buy this argument..

        There isn't much unique about MP3's encoded from CD's.. sure they can probably distinguish between the encoder (and parameters) used to rip the track, but pretty much everyone that rips tracks off of CD's does so with one of the top 3 programs that only expose one or two encoding parameters and those from drop-down lists...

        So we are at a dozen or two unique files at this point...

        Then that MP3 gets inserted into the users music library, managed by one of the top 3 programs aga
        • by DrXym (126579)
          Lots of MP3 files are watermarked so they are unique to the person who bought them. Services like Amazon, Apple, Napster, Walmart and others all embed uniquely identifiable information in the mp3. If you share those files with friends or upload them to p2p and that file appears on the same cloud in multiple accounts they can find out.

          Even personally encoded files may leave enough differences from one run and one machine to the next that even with the default settings they produce different files. I think

    • by SDrag0n (532175)
      Actually, when I logged on last night, I had a checkbox to have my uploaded files modified or not.... Granted it was all or none but still, an option is an option.
    • Is music your "personal data"?

      Seriously, I think this is the difference between some people feeling they "own" music vs other people feeling they "use" music.

      I use music. If I paid for it and have access to it, in whatever form, then I am happy, period. Doesn't make me an idiot, just makes me a user of content.

      I don't personally feel that the music files themselves matter. If a company wants to "upgrade" my music for me, free of charge, then by all means, please do so. I would rather this then being for

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        > Is music your "personal data"?

        My copy is. I own it as much as I own the little plastic disc it came on.

        I did not pay for an Amazon copy. I might not even want an Amazon copy. Amazon's copy is different and that's not something that can be trivially glossed over or excused.

        It doesn't matter if it's Music, Video, eBooks, or anything else you happen to think of.

        • by Rockoon (1252108)

          My copy is. I own it as much as I own the little plastic disc it came on.

          That file on Amazons servers isnt your copy. Its their copy. You still have your copy, unless you deleted it.

      • by evilRhino (638506)
        I think your model breaks down as businesses move closer to monopolies, as has been the case for the past 30 years. Right now, we have a few parties quite content to collude together to fuck over their customers (LIBOR, RIAA CD price fixing, wireless providers capping data plans, etc., etc.).
  • Store this! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @05:31AM (#40839963) Journal

    The point of forcibly replacing your music with a good-quality one is so they can massively reduce storage. Now they just need one copy of each song.

    Which makes it doubly bizarre they're now counting it against your cloud storage -- it's not even stored in your "piece" -- all that's stored are a few bytes of an ID pointing into their song database.

    • Profit! (Score:5, Funny)

      by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @05:51AM (#40840061) Journal

      The point of forcibly replacing your music with a good-quality one is so they can massively reduce storage. Now they just need one copy of each song.

      Which makes it doubly bizarre they're now counting it against your cloud storage -- it's not even stored in your "piece" -- all that's stored are a few bytes of an ID pointing into their song database.

      This is the cloud equivalent of the "?????" step between the "Charge money for storage space" step and the "Profit" step.

    • I don't really care about the conversions because I can't hear the difference between the bitrates. What kind of bugs me is that Amazon took away any type of meaningful free option.

      Looking at Google Play right now.

    • by mlippert (526036)

      So I actually went and read the article. Turns out that people are misinterpreting what is happening (I know, shocking!)

      Amazon is splitting out the music from their current Cloud Drive and moving it to this new "Cloud Player" where they are doing some of this stuff w/ 256kbps copies and whatnot.

      However going forward, they have 2 different cloud services, Drive and Player. Drive is for files and the Cloud Player clients do not connect to it. If you upload a music file to your Cloud Drive (from this point for

  • music laundry (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @05:37AM (#40839987) Homepage

    upload pirated music get clean copies .. ;D

    • by chrish (4714)

      Except, of course, that pirated music comes in lossless formats or at least in higher bitrates than what Amazon is giving you here.

      Uh, not that I'd know. A friend told me.

  • by kenorland (2691677) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @05:39AM (#40840001)

    So, can I upload my music, have it upgraded and tagged by Amazon, then download the improved MP3s and quit the service?

    • So, can I upload my music, have it upgraded and tagged by Amazon, then download the improved MP3s and quit the service?

      Yes, you can do that if you want, but since they make you prepay for the entire year -- the joke will be on you if you quit their service after just 24 hours.

      • by jamesh (87723)

        So, can I upload my music, have it upgraded and tagged by Amazon, then download the improved MP3s and quit the service?

        Yes, you can do that if you want, but since they make you prepay for the entire year -- the joke will be on you if you quit their service after just 24 hours.

        I'm not sure what laws Amazon operate under, but a contract that says "and after you sign up we can vary the contract however we want and you will like it" is probably not enforceable, so if you already had an account you should be able to do this then get a refund.

      • Prepay for what? The basic service is free, last I checked. You only get 250 imported files max, but you could process them in batches of 250...

  • Can you upload higher bitrates already? I would be pissed at them converting my audio if I had taken the time to upload FLAC copies, for example. Or even 320kbit MP3 that one usually does if they are ripping CDs.

    • by RivenAleem (1590553) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @06:04AM (#40840139)

      The summary seemed quite clear to me, all music is being converted to 256kbps. It didn't say 'upgraded to', though I suspect Amazon may try to spin it like that.

      What is likely happening here is that Amazon has a file of "Stairway to Heaven" in 256kbps on their server, and in order to save space everybody who uploads their own personal copy of "Stairway to Heaven" has it substituted with Amazon's version, so instead of 100 copies of various version of the song on their server, you just have 100 people accessing the same file, and guess what! Yes, that file you share with 99 other people, it counts towards your quota.

      It's brilliant, they sell the same piece of hard drive space 100's and 100's of times over.

      • by Tapewolf (1639955)

        I wonder how fuzzy the matching is? Will you suddenly end up with a different mix or remastered version of the song because it assumed they were the same?

      • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @08:37AM (#40840963) Journal

        What is likely happening here is that Amazon has a file of "Stairway to Heaven" in 256kbps on their server, and in order to save space everybody who uploads their own personal copy of "Stairway to Heaven" has it substituted with Amazon's version

        There hae been at least 7 releases of Stairway to Heaven on CD. If I have the one from 1985, can I be assured that I won't be getting the remaster from 1994, or vice versa?

        • by Rockoon (1252108)

          There hae been at least 7 releases of Stairway to Heaven on CD. If I have the one from 1985, can I be assured that I won't be getting the remaster from 1994, or vice versa?

          Note that the 1985 one probably has high dynamic range while the 1994 remastered is probably an overly compressed wall of sound.

    • by reub2000 (705806)

      Considering that the cloud player does not currently recognize FLAC, I'm guessing nothing.

  • by gnasher719 (869701) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @05:41AM (#40840019)
    According to the article: "Like iTunes Match, Amazonâ(TM)s Cloud Player keeps copies of songs at 256 kilobytes per second, even if the original version was lower-fidelity."

    Who would want 256 kilobyte per second, which turns a normal CD into more than a Gigabyte?
    • How else are you going to take advantage of the fidelity of your Denon AKDL1 Dedicated Link Cable?

    • by tgd (2822)

      According to the article: "Like iTunes Match, Amazonâ(TM)s Cloud Player keeps copies of songs at 256 kilobytes per second, even if the original version was lower-fidelity."

      Who would want 256 kilobyte per second, which turns a normal CD into more than a Gigabyte?

      Those are metric seconds.

    • Who would want 256 kilobyte per second, which turns a normal CD into more than a Gigabyte?

      It makes for a warmer sound.

  • by marcello_dl (667940) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @05:45AM (#40840043) Homepage Journal

    Welcome to the cloud! Where your data is our data.

    As "the cloud" is getting more traction, expect worse things to happen. We are still in the acceptance phase.

    • by unitron (5733)

      Welcome to the cloud! Where your data is our data.

      As "the cloud" is getting more traction, expect worse things to happen. We are still in the acceptance phase.

      Which is another way of saying they haven't discontinued the use of the anesthesia and lubricant yet.

      (but eventually they will, citing the extra expense)

      Below I reproduce the AC's comment I can't mod up since I'm posting in this thread, but it definitely deserves a +1, Insightful

      foreign music listeners beware (Score:1)
      by Anonymous Coward on Wed Aug 01, '12 06:01 AM (#40840123)

      There may be all sorts of problems down the line with people who like music that isn't officially licensed in their country.
      Reply to This

    • We are still in the acceptance phase.

      Speak for yourself, I'm still in complete denial. For starters, I cannot accept that clouds, the pretty, free things without a greedy or evil thought in their whole body, should lend their name to something as banal as this. That's just arrogant and silly.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @06:01AM (#40840123)

    There may be all sorts of problems down the line with people who like music that isn't officially licensed in their country.

    • by arth1 (260657)

      There may be all sorts of problems down the line with people who like music that isn't officially licensed in their country.

      Also, there is a problem with copyrights and your purchase being specific to the album you purchased.
      If you have bought and stored a song from Album A, that does not give you any rights to the same song from Album B. Even if both albums used the same recording as a basis. This becomes a legal problem if Album B was never legally released in your country or jurisdiction.

      In addition to other implications, of course:

      From your perspective, it's like if you had a signed litograph, stored it in a bank, and they

      • by jamesh (87723)

        From your perspective, it's like if you had a signed litograph, stored it in a bank, and they decided to replace it with another one from the same series. It may look the same to the uneducated eye, but it isn't the same.

        Even worse... what if your child has the 'radio edit' of a song and Amazon swaps it for the album version with all the naughty words left in?? Won't somebody _please_ think of the children???

  • by sander (7831) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @06:03AM (#40840131)

    This is very much like Amazon in everything - you have no rights, only the obligation to pay them and have them do pretty much what they want with your data. There is no effective SLA, and if you don't like what they do only recourse is trying to win over a megacorp in court.

    So ... You use their crap ? Blame yourself!

  • Weird domain (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rumith (983060) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @06:21AM (#40840207)
    Excuse me my ignorance, but why is this supposed press release hosted on corporate-ir.net (that doesn't even appear to have a root index file) instead of amazon.com? A quick google search shows that there are plenty of such press releases from lots of different companies hosted on that site; however, I am still not sure if this stuff is legitimate.
  • by JohnnyMindcrime (2487092) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @07:46AM (#40840623)

    I just buy the CD, rip it myself, put the CD on a shelf as it's own backup, copy the rips onto a portable hard disk and put the hard disk in my coat pocket.

    I can access my music anywhere, not just where there's an Internet connection.

    • That's right, be old school and have a HD in your pocket which you can drop and lose all your shit (because we know you don't have backups) and lose the cost of the device itself.

      A lot of people sneered at Opera Unite, calling it bloat.

      To this day this derision of Unite by various people still bugs me, because under Unite, you could have an instant server on any computer that could run Unite. It was simple and drool proof. You didn't even need dyndns services. No more rolling your own with Apache or some

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        > That's right, be old school and have a HD in your pocket which you can drop and lose all your shit

        So? Just have another copy. Back before there were 32G microSD cards the size of a fingernail, I had my collection on CDR and DVDR. Media was cheap and very disposable.

        I did this before any sort of Apple or Amazon music or cloud service existed. I could have another copy of my collection and spend about a dollar doing it.

        A pocket sized hard drive is what you would use if you wanted to do some serious sneak

      • by mvdwege (243851)

        I just buy the CD, rip it myself, put the CD on a shelf as it's own backup, copy the rips onto a portable hard disk and put the hard disk in my coat pocket.

        That's right, be old school and have a HD in your pocket which you can drop and lose all your shit (because we know you don't have backups)

        (emphasis mine)

        How about being even more old school, and learn how to read?

        Mart

    • by coofercat (719737)

      Exactly, and 5GB is so incredibly cheap to buy in a USB stick or whatever, there's no need to use a cloud to store it. If they were offering 500G or some such, then maybe it would be useful. Hell, I've got 32GB in my phone, 5G just isn't worth worrying about.

  • Amazon also reduced pricing for the service yesterday, which may be good for future subscribers, but is really annoying for those who already had subscriptions and just renewed for more money. Anyone who spent several weeks uploading music files one year ago likely didn't want to let their subscription lapse and have to repeat the entire process. Amazon waited a couple of weeks until everyone up for renewal was billed for a new year, then, less than a month later, they fundamentally changed the service's
  • by fast turtle (1118037) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @09:02AM (#40841175) Journal

    I will not ever pay or use cloud services for anything important unless the files are encrypted on my end.

  • Pray I don't alter your data any further.
  • Too often I see people using Youtube or Pandora to play music they already own just because they forgot to sync it to their phone.

  • I have been buying MP3s from Amazon for some time, I just ordered some CDs instead yesterday. Used CDs are cheaper than MP3 albums in many cases, including shipping, and they have better quality (assuming no defects, still to be determined) -- I'll just rip them to FLAC. So this is only an "upgrade" for people who pirated music or ripped there CDs as 128k or 192k. Anyone ripping CDs in the last 5 years would be stupid to encode in anything but FLAC, unless they only need it on an MP3 player with limited st

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @09:54AM (#40841705)

    original copies of your uploaded songs will be available as well, take a look below:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200593970#pastpurchase

    Audio Upgrade

    For some songs and albums you previously imported to Cloud Player, Amazon may have rights to upgrade your music to high-quality 256 Kbps audio. We'll automatically begin upgrading the audio quality for previously imported files when you log in to Cloud Player; this process will only happen once and may take a few minutes to complete.

    A pop-up message will display progress, and you can close this message at any time. Once complete, we'll display the number of songs that have been upgraded.

    Music that's been upgraded can be found in the "Upgraded Audio" playlist. The "Upgraded Audio" playlist will only be available if songs are upgraded. Original copies of these Upgraded Audio files will remain accessible in Cloud Drive. Your Cloud Drive "Music" folder is now called "Archived Music."

    Imported Music Upgrades

    Music you import into Cloud Player in the future will also be automatically upgraded to high-quality 256 Kbps if Amazon has the rights to do so. This upgraded music will only appear in the Imported playlist and will not appear in the "Upgraded Audio" playlist.

  • by antdude (79039) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @10:40AM (#40842315) Homepage Journal

    I buy many MP3s from Amazon, but I don't use its Cloud. I do let it keep my bought MP3s as my backups though. I never upload anything.

  • How horrifying (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Cute Fuzzy Bunny (2234232) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @11:04AM (#40842613)

    This actually turns out to be a real benefit for me. I ripped hundreds of albums over ten years ago into 96 and 128 bit mp3's, and lately I've been nagging myself to drag them out and re-rip them to a better sounding rate. This just did it all for me and I'm downloading the upgraded files now.

    Thanks Amazon! You're the best! Apple wants me to pay for this, you gave it to me for freee.

    • by psydeshow (154300)

      This actually turns out to be a real benefit for me. I ripped hundreds of albums over ten years ago into 96 and 128 bit mp3's, and lately I've been nagging myself to drag them out and re-rip them to a better sounding rate. This just did it all for me and I'm downloading the upgraded files now.

      Thanks Amazon! You're the best! Apple wants me to pay for this, you gave it to me for freee.

      That's true as long as you don't mind Amazon's watermarks and intentional glitches in your music.

      I strongly suspect (though I have no proof) that the digital files that Amazon sells and streams are not pristine rips from CD or masters. They almost certainly have a way to tell if any random mp3 in the wild is "one of ours". Just like how cartographers introduce minor errors or made-up streets in order to prevent other publishers from copying their work undetected.

      I do have some proof actually. A friend of m

      • by cos(0) (455098)

        A friend of mine and I both bought the same mp3 track from Amazon, and then compared the files and md5 checksums. Same metadata, different checksum. Our amateur conclusion is that the tracks were watermarked with our account IDs or something.

        Did you check IDv1 and IDv2 metadata? I don't have any Amazon MP3s handy, but as I recall Amazon puts a unique number into the Comment field. That's easy to change or erase. I'd be interested in comparing actual audio data between two purchasers of the same MP3.

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