For Amazon MP3 sales, Amazon Cloud Player is where your purchased music lands now, which is fine; you can play the music in a web browser or with Amazon's iOS/Android/Windows apps, or download them as unencrypted MP3s and do whatever the hell you want with them. If you bought it on Amazon, they don't charge you for disk space on the Cloud, presumably because they were storing the payload anyhow. Bandwidth is free, too. That's all great.
They also let you upload your own MP3s to the service, and charge you for more than 5 gigabytes of space or whatever, for MP3s you didn't buy from them. That's reasonable, too. The uploader is even smart enough to notice that you're uploading an MP3 you bought from them before the Cloud Player existed and do the right thing.
This system has worked for me for years now.
Today I went to listen to Regina Spektor's album "Begin to Hope," which I didn't buy from Amazon and had uploaded many moons ago. It has a track named "Hotel Song." This song's chorus contains the lyrics: "a little bag of cocaine, a little bag of cocaine..."
Imagine my surprise today when Regina sang "A little bag of HMMMHHMMM, and little bag of HMMMHMMM."
I thought my speakers were failing at first until I rewound and listened again.
They swapped out my uploaded track with the radio edit.
This is a problem in itself, because c'mon, but it also begs the question: if they're going to replace my uploaded data with what is roughly a symlink to what they're already storing on these servers, should they be allowed to charge me for disk space I'm not actually using?
Also, should they be allowed to swap out my data with whatever they think is good enough?
When your data is in The Cloud, you don't own it, even if you pay for it.
Also, while we're talking about this, everyone uploading their music collections to Amazon (or Google Music, or iTunes Match, or wherever) is just producing an easily-searchable database of pirates for publishers that have really aggressively hostile contracts with their cloud services. Think about that for a moment when you try to decide if there's some remnant from Napster on your 160gb iPod.
Also, shit, we've come a long way in radio edits. Remember when Eric Clapton hit Billboard with a song about how great cocaine is? It was called COCAINE.
For non-native english speakers who have trouble with the lyrics (you will, they talk fast), watch it on YouTube and expand the description box below the video, you'll find them there.
- Liqidsoftware developer, 2011 - present
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