The retail giant will reportedly meet with executives at the major labels Thursday to discuss deal terms for its recently launched Cloud Drive, as the music industry continues to dispute the service's legality.
Music companies maintain that Amazon does not have the licensing rights to stream music – only to sell it digitally. The retailer says it is simply offering an online storage facility, similar to Dropbox or Box.net.
Reuters reports Amazon officials have been on a peacekeeping mission lately, meeting with music execs in both New York and Seattle to discuss a deal. The company, in a letter obtained by the news service, says it has actually seen digital music sales increase due to the integration of Cloud Drive.
That service offers 5 GB of free storage to all users, which is capable of holding up to 1,000 songs, 2,000 digital pictures or 20 minutes of HD video. For people with larger collections, the company is offering a range of tiered storage plans costing anywhere from $20 to $1,000 per year. (Amazon is also offering a free one-year upgrade to a 20GB package to customers who buy an MP3 album.)
Music is the initial focus for the service - a natural move, given the long-standing rumors that Apple is thinking about moving its iTunes service to the cloud, a technical term for online content storage that is streamed to computer and mobile devices via the Internet. Amazon has added a "Save to Amazon Cloud Drive" for all digital music purchases to encourage use of the service and offers an option to let users upload songs from their computer's hard drive.
The launch of Cloud Drive also Amazon a head start as both Google and Apple have reportedly been working on similar cloud services, which will let consumers access their content when they're away from their primary computer. Apple has an enormous data farm in North Carolina that is expected to be the hub of its cloud operations.