Amazon has become the first of the big firms to launch a cloud based digital locker for music (and video), amid continuous rumors that both Google and Apple are working on something similar. The whole locker concept is still up in the air because nobody really knows how its licensing dimension will eventually pan out. Much of that will depend on the outcome of the courtroom case between Mp3tunes.com and EMI. Amazon has apparently concluded that the risk of irking the labels is negligible, and isn’t paying licensing fees for content that it stores in its Cloud Drive service. The company'sother conclusion may wellhave been that if it wants to make its music download business grow, now was the eleventh hour to get a complementarylocker offering out.
In terms of specs and features, Cloud Drive seems pretty well designed and implemented – but that’s only if you still want to own the music you listen to. Not everybody does anymore, as our recent study on Mobile Cloud Music Services shows. One major factor that has worked in favourofon-demand and internet radio providers is the fact how ridiculously difficult listening to your own music collection viaphone or car stereo can be. Assuming that selling music track by track is the most lucrative form of digital distribution for the rights-holders, they have definitely scored an own goal by dragging their heels over cloud storage. (Yes, those lessons from the years when the only MP3 songs you could downloadwere pirated ones couldhave been learned slightly better by some.)
One tip toAmazon and others who bet their money on lockers: Add to your features a decent recommendation engine. Locker customers are likely to be heavy users, who own hundreds of songs. Putting such a collection into a desirable playlist can be tricky when the user is on the move, so integrating the service with a recommendation app (like e.g. Moodagent) canmake the listening experience a good deal better.