Amazon.com Inc is introducing an online service to allow customers to store their music files remotely and access them through their smartphones and computers in a move aimed at drawing music buyers from rivals such as Apple Inc's iTunes.
Amazon's Cloud Service, announced on Tuesday, will allow customers to tap its company's Web servers instead of local hard drives -- a type of technology generically known as cloud computing.
In a statement, Amazon's vice president of movies and music Bill Carr said the service would spare users from having to save their music files on multiple players and move those files around.
The company said customers would initially get 5 gigabytes of free storage. The cost for additional storage will be $1 per gigabyte, according to Amazon's website. A customer can get an upgrade to 20 gigabytes with the purchase of any album in MP3 format bought from Amazon.
But new music purchases from Amazon saved directly to the cloud service will not count against any storage quota.
The service's concept is to allow users to listen to music from any of their computers or phones regardless of where they bought their files.
Music files can be saved in either the MP3 format or AAC, which is the standard used by Apple's iTunes service.
Amazon is also offering Cloud Player, which will allow music fans to listen to, download and make playlists on any Web browser as well as any application using Google's Android operating system.
(Reporting by Phil Wahba in New York; additional reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)