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Amazon puts up CD rack in the cloud, unearths your OLD stuff too

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Amazon's cloudy music service is filling up with every CD you ever bought, ready to play back on as many as 10 approved devices along with your MP3 collection.

The service is called "AutoRip" and is US-only for the moment, but where available it creates digital versions of CDs in the cloud so as soon as the purchase is made one can start listening while the physical CD is in the post. But Amazon is also adding digital versions of CDs one bought in the past, to entice late adopters into its cloud. It may also have a small effect on the sale of meatspace music discs.

The Cloud Player is under Your Account on the Amazon home page, and comes pre-populated with the MP3 files you've purchased, though in contrast to the downloads, these versions are protected with Adobe's Digital Rights Management - which limits playback to 10 registered devices.

New CDs bought from Amazon.com, and sporting the AutoRip logo, come with a digital copy so buyers don't even have to go through the effort of ripping their own discs, unless they want to convert them to OGG and play them back on a Raspberry Pi or similar.

The point here is to seduce listeners into Amazon's cloud service, competing with Google's Play Music and similar services. Amazon will charge you $24.99 a year if you have more than 250 tracks which weren't purchased from Amazon, but is slightly better at recognising tracks (to avoid uploading when copies already exist) and in very-limited testing offered smoother playback too, but that's probably down to the small number of users.

Amazon has recognised that some customers just prefer physical media, and that such customers need more inducement to take advantage of cloudy playback, automatically ripping CDs is a nice service to offer, and if the future is as cloudy as proponents seem to think it's going to be, then every customer seduced today will pay off over the rest of their lives. ®

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