Open Letter to Amazon Re: New Cloud Music Service

Dear Amazon.com,

I like your cloud music concept so much that I wrote a veritable love letter about it two nights ago. Since then I’ve spent a little quality time with your new service (I uploaded all of my 20GB digital music collection) and I’m still infatuated, but I now have some specific feedback for you.

  • Bulk upload is easy to use, easy to customize and works like a charm. Kudos on that. It’s also very slow (it took nearly a full day to upload my 20GB of music) but I’m guessing that’s by design – by not hogging my processor or network adapter, it quietly chugs along off to the side doing its thing, while I get real work done. That’s fine, I only have to bulk upload once so I can live with it being slow.
  • The web player is clean, intutive and surprisingly responsive for a web app – it seems to be in that category of well designed Ajax apps (like gmail) that feels almost like a desktop app.
  • Device support – not so good. You have to figure out a way to support iThings – this can’t be about Android vs. Apple. Trust me, I’m on your side, I want this service to succeed but I’m not dropping my iPhone or iPad just to access your cloud player. I understand that out of the box you don’t yet support iOS but you need to at least make some sort of statement so we know where you stand.
  • Love that you give a free 5GB for the casual user and, on album purchase, a free upgrade to 20GB for one year for the more serious collector. Even after the promo, a dollar a GB for backed up storage with ubiquitous access seems like a pretty reasonable price to me.
  • Not that you need my help on the marketing end but here’s a suggestion: in addition to the free 5GB, offer three free MP3 albums. Free cloud storage space is sexy only to nerds like me. Free music has much broader mass appeal.
  • When I buy music from your MP3 store, you force me to store it in one of two places: directly on my cloud drive or downloaded to my computer. Guess what? I want the “both” option. I’d like it dropped immediately into my cloud drive and I want a copy for safekeeping on my computer. Why? Because I don’t want my music locked into your service. If someone offers a better service, I’d like to be able to move my music to another cloud (it’s my music, after all). With the current setup, I need to download purchases and then upload them to my cloud drive, which is a hassle.
  • UPDATE: The cloud player supports automatic download (details here, see the “Setting Cloud Player to auto-download new purchases” section). Here’s the setting you want to look for:
    It would be nice if that choice could be made more explicit at MP3 purchase time.

In summary, nice work on a truly groundbreaking service. I’m a fan, but to keep me you’ve got to finish the job. Make it easy for me to play my music on my iPhone and iPad.

Your friend,

Marc

p.s. As far as I’m concerned, you needn’t worry about iPods. I’m betting some enterprising Andoid developer is already working on a wireless portable cloud player. I’m much more willing to ditch my iPod than my iPhone or iPad. BTW, a cloud player based on Whispernet (ubiquitous connectivity with no service contract) would be awesome!

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