Akin to Apple's iTunes Match, Amazon Cloud Player is a new service in the UK that lets you store your digital music library in the cloud for access from any device. The service has now been added to the AmazonMP3 Android and iOS apps; we review the Android version here. See Best Android Apps.
AmazonMP3 is in essence a digital music store that lets you purchase DRM-free MP3s on the move from your tablet or smartphone. The prices are reasonable, with the latest releases costing 89p per track. You can also buy older songs from Amazon's 20 million-track library, which are available from 69p. Albums have varying prices. See Android Advisor.
You can use the Search function to hunt down a particular song, album or artist, or browse Bestsellers, New Releases and Genres. You can also play a sample of each tune to ensure it's what you're after. See musicMagpie for Android review.
There are a few differences between browsing the store via the AmazonMP3 app and through the desktop site. In particular, you won't find any tracks offered free for download without searching for them by name, nor any other special offers. Of course, you can continue to buy tracks on your PC or laptop and then also play them on your smartphone or tablet.
To buy a track you simply tap it and choose Buy. You'll be prompted to sign into your Amazon account if you aren't already logged in, then must agree to the terms of service to purchase the track.
Despite having a debit card stored in our usual Amazon account, AmazonMP3 prompted us to enter our payment details. These are stored for future purchases, but it's annoying nonetheless. The app also required us to fill in every field in its billing address form, including our phone number, before it would let us continue; our address simply isn't long enough to fill every field, so we resorted to adding dashes in two of them.
Purchased tracks are added to Cloud Player rather than downloaded to your device, unless you've selected automatic downloads in the Settings menu. However, it's simple enough to click a download button within Cloud Player so the tracks are available offline, and it's possible to configure the app to ensure they take place over Wi-Fi only. To toggle between Cloud Player and the AmazonMP3 store you simply tap the arrow at the top right of the screen.
Any music you've ever purchased from AmazonMP3 is added to Cloud Player on first use. It can also scan your iTunes and Windows Media Player libraries to match your music to tracks held in its library; these are added to Cloud Player in 256Kbps audio format. It's free to add up to 250 tracks; thereafter, Cloud Player Premium costs £21.99 per year and supports up to 250,000 tracks. Few people will find Cloud Player's storage capacity restrictive.
With a selection of audio now in Cloud Player, the app serves not only to make tracks available on any web-connected device logged into amazon.co.uk/cloudplayer, but on any iOS or Android device with the AmazonMP3 app installed. It also lets you play back music stored locally or online, create playlists and use a Shuffle function.
Tracks are streamed at their original quality, so it may be worthwhile configuring the device to do so over Wi-Fi only if you have a limited data plan, or download them to your device.