Online retail giant Amazon may soon announce a cloud-based music and movie storage locker, beating out Google and Apple in what promises to be a profitable service as media usage on smartphones rises.
The Seattle, Wash.-based company is in discussions with some major record companies and Hollywood film studios to create a digital locker service for film and music libraries and may announce the plans as early as next week, according to sources. The service would enable customers to store their music, film, and e-book collections — including content not purchased at Amazon — on the company’s servers.
The company’s locker service is expected to take advantage of its wide ties across media industries, as well as its large customer base and ability to cross-promote products. The e-retailer has not yet obtained all necessary licenses, but Amazon executives have told studios and record labels that it could announce the services before the negotiations are fully concluded.
The haste underscores the company’s determination to beat out rivals such as Google and Apple, both of whom are reported to be preparing or revamping their own cloud-based locker services.
Google has reportedly been testing out its Google Music service, which would focus on letting users store all their music online. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company must still also negotiate licensing with record labels.
Apple will reportedly soon launch a retooled version of its existing MobileMe service for $20 a year, an 80 percent cut on its original price. MobileMe will reportedly become an online locker for iTunes music, enabling device owners to stream their music libraries from wherever they are and sync content among all of Apple’s devices. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company is expected to announce the revamped service in April.
The coming flood of cloud-based media lockers should dovetail with the increasing push to bring music to smartphones. While streaming services are expected to rise as music usage becomes more mobile, digital lockers tap into the long-standing appeal of ownership. Whichever company gets there first may prove the market leader in what promises to be an invaluable service.
An Amazon spokesperson wasn’t immediately available for comment.
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