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Music labels lash out at Amazon's cloud service

Amazon is in a battle royale with music labels over its digital music locker service.

Launched on Monday, Amazon's Cloud Player is drawing criticism from record companies chagrined that the Seattle company did not secure music licenses from labels and publishers before releasing its service.

Sony Music Entertainment said in a statement, "We are disappointed that the locker service that Amazon is proposing is unlicensed by Sony Music, and we hope that Amazon will resolve the situation quickly by agreeing to a license with us. We are keeping all our legal options open." 

Sony's spokesperson, Liz Young, declined to define "legal options" and whether the company's statement suggests Amazon's service violates any sort of copyright law.

On Tuesday, Amazon fired back that it didn't need licenses to launch its Cloud Player, which lets users upload songs and play the music from any Web browser or device that uses Google's Android operating system.

Because the files belong to users, Amazon isn't required to obtain licenses to be able to store them on its servers and make them accessible to users. But that requires users to upload their music, a process that could take hours if not days for large song collections.

Competing services such as Rdio, which has licenses from the major record labels for a locker service, scan a user's computer to take an inventory of songs on the hard disc drive, a process that takes minutes if not seconds, and instantly make those songs available to stream.

Amazon continues to negotiate with record labels for locker licenses, according to an executive with a major record label. But Amazon's preemptive strike in launching the service without those licenses have irked the record companies. One executive told Billboard that Amazon's service was "third-rate."

Sony has hesitated to jump on board with so-called cloud services because of concerns about users uploading pirated songs to the lockers, along with legitimately purchased music, according to executives familiar with the negotiations.

If this tune sounds familiar, it's a variation on another kerfuffle the online retailer had last year with book publishers. Amazon triggered an uproar last year by insisting that Kindle versions of new releases be sold at $9.99. Publishers rebelled, saying the low price cannibalizes sales of hardcover bestsellers, priced at $25 to $30. The upshot? Amazon caved in, allowing some publishers to set the retail prices for Kindle versions of their titles.

Can't we all just get along?

-- Alex Pham


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Comments () | Archives (9)

Typical knee jerk reaction from RIAA. Imagine if all cloud services needed to verify ownership of everything stored in the cloud? That would kill cloud computing in its crib. Brilliant.

The Recording Industry is just pissed they are dying day by day and Amazon is just helping put the nails in their coffin. Almost every major artist is independent now and puts music out on their own. Give it 5 years..Record Label who? Should have played the game right when you had the ball the first time.

Record companies like Sony Music are trying to limit what consumers (who pay for everything) can and cannot do their purchased property. This is ludiciuos. It's a violation of our principles regarding private property. Corporations like those mentioned in the article are seeking to limit consumer property rights. No political party in this nation should stand behind such unequal restrictions!

The music labels are being unreasonable because they're asking Amazon to pay a licensing fee for music that the user has already bought, which differs from normal streaming in that with normal streaming there is no initial purchase (and thus the user does not have a preexisting license). Buying content does not come with a stipulation that you cannot stream it to yourself. Amazon is absolutely right, and unfortunately our music industry is stuck in the mentality of looking for ways to make people pay for content more than once because they can't think of innovative business models on their own.

Once again the record executives have only themselves to blame as they destroy themselves.

These clowns never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. CHANGE YOUR MODEL FOLKS.

Leave it to the music industry to once again try to kill anything it can't control outright AND to be late adopters of new, extremely viable tech instead of finding ways to participate in profits. They rumbled at the creation of the MP3 file format to no avail. They were offered participation in Napster at the VC stage and told them that if they didn't sell to them outright for pennies, they'd shut them down. Little did they know that iTunes was around the corner waiting to change their business model forever. They now police YouTube and remove songs posted as videos regularly, because, well, who knows why. It's harmless and only promotes the sale of product. Old men in a young industry who still can't even program their DVR's...

That requires users to upload their music, a process that could take hours if not days for large song collections.

Amazon.com seems to think it's Big Brother. Its mechanical hound, the Kindle, sets fire to free speech and helps crappy writers publish their crappy stories; it promotes censorship and contributes to the closures of bookstores and libraries; and, unlike the paperback book which is usually made of RECYCLED paper or paper that was produced at a TREE FARM, Amazon's Kindle produces e-waste that causes deforestation of the Amazon in the real world. Obviously, Amazon cares little about you, your rights, laws, and life on Planet Earth. They care about only the money they generate via the internet -- the place where rights, laws and life on Planet Earth aren't REALLY real and don't REALLY matter, according to Amazon.

Amazon's Cloud Drive is yet another way to give up your rights. Not only can Amazon control your books -- and censor any book, such as Mark Twain's great American novel, regardless of how Amazon's "edit" could change the message or purpose of the book -- but now they can control your music, too!, most of which you probably illegally downloaded. It's good to know that music is in Amazon's hands now. They'll know what to do with it.

It's a pleasure to burn.


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