Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN:US) has reached licensing deals with the four major U.S. record companies for a music service that lets users store songs remotely and play them online, competing with Apple Inc.’s iTunes.
Songs from Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group, Sony Corp.’s music business, EMI Group Ltd. and billionaire Len Blavatnik’s Warner Music Group are now available through the Amazon Cloud Player, the Seattle-based online retailer said today in a statement.
With the agreements, Amazon’s music service will work similarly to Apple iTunes, letting multiple devices access a centrally stored music collection. Amazon, whose Kindle Fire tablet computer sells for $199 -- half the price of Apple’s least expensive iPad -- is seeking to make money by offering higher-margin digital content on the device, such as books, music and movies.
Amazon said its cloud music users will be able to access songs on a Kindle Fire, devices running Google Inc. (GOOG:US)’s Android operating system, and Apple’s iPhones. The songs, also accessible through an Internet browser, will soon be available via Roku Inc.’s streaming service or Sonos Inc.’s home entertainment systems, Amazon said.
Consumers can scan all the songs on their hard drive -- those from iTunes, Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Media Player and compact discs -- and play them in Amazon’s Cloud Player.
Amazon will offer a free version of the service that lets users import as many as 250 songs, as well as a premium version for $24.99 a year that will allow storage of 250,000 songs.
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