How the Amazon Cloud Player Works

Amazon Cloud Player Requirements

You can play music files from your Amazon Cloud Drive using either the Amazon Cloud Player Web application or Amazon MP3 Player software. We'll look at the Amazon MP3 Player later when we explore how you can listen to your music from your mobile device. First, though, let's look at the Amazon Cloud Player which lets you upload, organize and play the music files on your Cloud Drive.

To use the Amazon Cloud Player Web application, you'll need the following:

  • An Amazon account
  • A valid billing address in your Amazon account settings -- The billing address requirement applies even if you're only using the 5 GB of free storage. If you decide to upgrade to have more storage, you'll also need to add a form of payment to your Amazon account settings, such as a credit card.
  • A supported Web browser -- Supported browsers as of this writing include Internet Explorer 8 and up, Firefox 3.5 and up, Chrome, and Safari.
  • Adobe Flash Player -- Your browser might already include Flash Player software. Otherwise, the Amazon Cloud Player will prompt you to download and install it from [source: Amazon].

Once you've met these requirements, your next step is to ensure any files you want to upload and play in the Cloud Player are in one of the player's supported file formats. You can store any files you want on your Cloud Drive, but the Cloud Player can only play files in one of two formats: the widely used MP3 format (with filenames ending in .mp3) and the AAC format used by Apple iTunes software (with filenames ending in .m4a) [source: Amazon].

One of the reasons Amazon is using these files formats is because it doesn't play music that's protected by digital rights management (DRM). DRM protection means that the businesses that distributed those files have encoded them so they're only readable by a specific software application. For example, if your purchase music from Apple's iTunes Store, you can only play those files in iTunes software, and only on computers you've registered with Apple. If you upload DRM-encoded files to your Amazon Cloud Drive, the Cloud Player will be unable to play them. Later, we'll take a closer look at how Amazon handles DRM.

Now that you're versed on Amazon Cloud Player requirements, let's get started!