Amazon just announced their new music digital locker service, appropriately named Amazon Cloud Drive. If you already use Amazon, you get 5Gb of free storage space. And it’s not just storage space, you can actually upload your own personal music files and stream music to your device or desktop.
Are there other places where you can upload files for free? Sure, Dropbox.com and Google Docs have offered this kind of solution for a while. Services like these allow you ample space to FTP files to yourself or other people. It prettymuch eliminates the need for USB keys, which always seem to get lost or stolen.
Amazon goes one step further by adding a terrific music player and upload app that works on Mac and PC. If you don’t have it already, Amazon automatically downloads and installs Adobe Air, which is free and is useful for apps like TweetDeck. Best of all, it’s incredibly easy and fun, even for people who are fairly low tech.
You download the app, it installs, it finds your music, and it asks you which songs to upload. Even as I write this, I am uploading songs (all legally purchased) to Amazon Cloud Drive to store in my personal music locker. In the morning, I will see how well the MP3 songs stream to my computer at work. (Man, I love this stuff.)
Currently, I am an active Pandora user and a friend actually gifted me a PandoraOne account, which has increased my usage of their streaming music. The downloadable app for PandoraOne is quite nice, since you can just set it and forget it. Best of all, it helps you discover new music or even old music that you might have missed when it first released.
Looking forward, we’re seeing much more cloud-based computing and storage. This blog is written on WordPress, which is being served on the cloud. Popular sites like Facebook are also on the cloud, although most people don’t really give it a second thought.
As more services like this become available to regular users (as compared to power users), you’ll see innovative freemium and premium services popping up to support them. These will become useful channels to share marketing and brand messages, particularly as people may be looking for new content and brands. New channels always provide smart marketers with new opportunities to talk to their target audience.
If enough people subscribe to the free service or the premium service, they now have an advertising base and charge money for that. You are the ultimate target, and in Amazon’s case, they want you to buy more music and other stuff they sell. Just think of YouTube and Twitter and how much they give away for free. Somebody, somewhere is paying for this technology, right?
Freemium models are great to get people hooked on a service like Evernote or Flickr. They give you some stuff for free with the hopes that you want to step up to the deluxe version, which actually costs money. I’ve upgraded a few services that I use a lot, including Flickr Pro.
Amazon is banking on their stellar reputation as the ultimate online shopping site. Many people, including me, are jumping in right now to see how their freemium system works. So far, the technology appears to be spot on for the target audience. I’ve uploaded a bunch of songs and I am already considering my paid upgrade options beyond the 5Gb (which was the capacity of the original iPod right?).
In the meantime, enjoy the fun. It’s free (until they ask you to pay).