Amazon has signed agreements with Sony Music Entertainment, EMI Music, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group as well as various publishers and indie label distributors, the company said Tuesday. These new agreements allow the company’s cloud player to scan a user’s hard drive, identify songs and then make them immediately available online and on mobile devices.
Songs will be upgraded to 256 kbps MP3s, even of the source is of lower quality. Users will be able to transfer up to 250 songs for free, while a premium version with access to a whopping 250,000 songs will cost $25 per year.
These new features as well as the pricing essentially mimic Apple’s iTunes in the Cloud offering, but represent a shift in strategy for Amazon: The company initially launched its cloud music locker without licenses from the labels, which made it necessary for consumers to upload each and every track.
However, this change also comes with new restrictions for users of the existing service: Amazon previously gave users 5 GB of free storage for their uploaded songs, which could be extended to 20 GB of space if they bought music through Amazon’s MP3 store. Now, the cloud player prompts users to delete anything over the 250 song limit if they don’t want to pay for the new premium version.
Amazon also announced Tuesday that its cloud music player will come to Roku streaming devices and Sonos players soon. The service is already available through the web, as well as native apps for Android and iOS devices.