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Amazon adds 'scan and match' feature to Cloud Player

Amazon has updated its Cloud Player platform with several new features, including an iTunes Match-like scan and match technology, which brings a "fast and easy way for customers to get their music from their computers to the cloud," the online retailer said.

The service is still not available in the UK, but that could soon change if the rumours of an imminent Kindle Fire release on this side of the Atlantic are to be trusted.

The new scan and match technology essentially takes away the pain of having to upload every song in your entire music library one by one. Instead, Amazon will scan your iTunes and Windows Media Player libraries and match the songs on your computer with its catalogue of 20 million tracks.

All the matched songs, including those purchased from iTunes or ripped from CDs, will be available in Cloud Player. As an added bonus, Amazon will upgrade them for free to high-quality 256 Kbps audio, regardless of the original bitrate. Plus, all Amazon MP3 purchases, including tracks customers bought in the past, will be automatically saved to Cloud Player.

Amazon inked deals with the four major record companies — Sony Music Entertainment, EMI Music, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group — as well as more than 150 independent distributors, aggregators, and music publishers to make the new scan and match feature a reality.

"We are constantly striving to deliver the best possible customer experience for Cloud Player, and today we are offering our customers a significant set of new features, including scan and match technology and audio quality upgrade," Steve Boom, vice president of digital music at Amazon, said in a statement. "We are happy to have such broad industry support in enabling these features for customers."

Cloud Player is available in two flavours — free and premium. The free version lets you store all MP3s purchased from Amazon, plus up to 250 songs from your PC or Mac. Or, for $25 (£16) a year, you can nab a premium version, which offers storage for up to 250,000 songs. As with the free version, MP3s purchased from Amazon do not count against the premium song limit.

Amazon Cloud Player is accessible on the Kindle Fire, Android devices, the iPhone, iPod touch, or from any Web browser. Amazon promised it will soon be available on the Roku streaming media player and Sonos home entertainment system.