Amazon Music v. Apple Music

Apple’s iTunes is the proverbial 800-pound gorilla in the music world, but I’m starting to wonder if Amazon isn’t going to dethrone Apple as the #1 music provider someday.

Apple, Amazon and Google all came out with cloud music sites last year and I put my 20,000 songs on each site.  I’ve ended up using the Amazon Cloud Player the most.  Google and Amazon have web based players.  Apple requires an iTunes  install.  That meant I couldn’t play tunes from my Apple Music Match library on my Linux machines.

amazon_cloud_player

iTunes always played my music best on my iPod touch and iPad, that was until the Amazon Cloud Player app came out.

Now Amazon has done something even more marvelous, it created an Amazon Cloud Player station for my Roku TV box.  Since my TV is hooked up to my stereo receiver and big speakers, playing music through my Roku really showcases those MP3 files.  My music sounds great!  And Amazon has started matching music like Apple.  Plus Amazon does a far better job than iTunes at finding cover art.

Even more enticing to keep my business, I got an email from Amazon a couple weeks ago telling me that 56 CDs I had bought since the 1998 qualified for their new free ripping service called AutoRip and those songs were added to my permanent library at Amazon.  If I stop paying the yearly fee for my cloud drive at Amazon, my uploaded/matched songs will disappear, but not those 56 CDs and the MP3s I’ve bought from Amazon.  I’ve bought many more CDs than 56, so I’m wondering if more CDs will qualify in the future for AutoRip.  I have a friend who got 200+ AutoRip CDs from Amazon the same day.

Buying a CD now from Amazon might get customers the MP3 album if it qualifies for AutoRip.  Wouldn’t it be great if customers got both formats whenever they purchased an album?  Maybe that will happen with DVDs too.  It would be so far out if Amazon sent me an email telling me that the TV shows and movies I’ve bought on Blu-ray and DVD qualified for AutoRip too?

Now that’s competing!  It’s awful nice having the company you buy media from also be your media librarian.  Amazon now manages my music, ebooks and audiobooks.  Why not movies and television shows in the future.  I already have a small library of digital TV shows that I bought as Amazon Instant Videos.

I can’t help but wonder what Apple will do now.  I let my Apple Music Match library renewal lapse this week, and I’ve stopped maintaining my Google Music library.  Amazon is now my music vender and librarian.

On my Roku, iPod touch and iPad I have millions of albums I’m renting from Rdio, and over a thousand albums I own playable through the Amazon Cloud Player.  The next logical step would be for Amazon to buy Rdio, or similar music streaming service and fix things so I only have only one library of music, with one set of playlists.  Wouldn’t that be amazing!  That’s the Holy Grail of digital music for me – all my available music, either owned or rented in one system, playable on all my computers and devices.

Now if Amazon would only make the Amazon Cloud Player more sophisticated.  But I expect they will.  I expect this trend in music to keep evolving.  The battle is between what Amazon and Apple can do for us.  Is anyone else really competing?

JWH – 2/4/13