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Amazon offers music storage in the Cloud

Online retailer Amazon has launched a cloud-based storage service dubbed Amazon Cloud Drive, along with a music player it calls Amazon Cloud Player for Web.

The outfit is promoting the storage service as a way of storing and accessing music from anywhere through an Internet connection. The Seattle-based firm also released a customised version of its cloud music player for Android.

It a statement, Amazon dubbed the move as a "leap forward in the digital experience." Bill Carr, vice president of Movies and Music at Amazon said: "The launch of Cloud Drive, Cloud Player for Web and Cloud Player for Android eliminates the need for constant software updates as well as the use of thumb drives and cables to move and manage music."

"Our customers have told us they don't want to download music to their work computers or phones because they find it hard to move music around to different devices," Carr said. "Now, whether at work, home, or on the go, customers can buy music from Amazon MP3, store it in the cloud and play it anywhere."

Both Apple and Google are working on cloud-based music storage services, according to multiple reports, so Amazon has stolen a march on its wannabe rivals - in the short term at least.

The service accepts files in wither AAC or MP3 formats and allows users to upload their digital music files to Amazon's cloud, to be played back on any PC, Mac, or Android device.

Customers will get 5GB of free storage for starters, upgradeable to 20GB with the purchase of an Amazon MP3 album. Additional storage space can be rented from $20 per 20GB per year. Amazons said MP3 purchases made through its stores and saved directly to Cloud Drive are stored for free and do not count against a customer's storage quota.

The Cloud Player for Web supports Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari for Mac and Chrome. Customers who have a computer with a Web browser can listen to their music. The Player for Web offers download and streaming options and the firm said its MP3 customers can continue to use iTunes and Windows Media Player to add their music to their iPods and MP3 players.

The Cloud Drive will also allow customers to upload music, photos, videos, and documents, accessible through a Web browser, though not - apparently - through a handset.