MUSIC IN THE CLOUD

Several years ago, Bob was browsing Amazon’s online music store and ended up putting two dozen classical CDs in the shopping cart. He planned to look the list over again before going to check-out. But Joy surprised him and just bought the whole batch. Yesterday, all of those CDs popped up online, ready to play from any computer, tablet or phone.

Amazon’s new “AutoRip,” is a free service that automatically uploads any CD you bought from them, going all the way back to 1998. It puts the contents into your personal “Cloud Player” ready to stream online. We are more than slightly awed by this; just consider the amount of storage they must have.

A playlist online is much easier to handle than riffling through boxes of CDs and loading them into a player. Before “AutoRip” arrived, most of our CDs gathered dust; we just listened to Spotify and Pandora online radio.

Now, Bob’s classical albums and Joy’s show tunes and rock classics are all neatly categorized by type, arranged automatically by Amazon. (Our CD of a rainstorm was put under “New Age.”) Anyone who signs onto this storage service could sell or give away their CDs and still have the music. This is certainly going to kill the used CD market.

Besides CDs, any song you buy from Amazon is also available in their Cloud Player. They will also take music from CDs you bought elsewhere. Amazon lets you store 250 imported songs for free, or 250,000 songs for $25 a year. Amazon sells 20 million songs, some of them from vinyl records. (Bob wanted to buy “Abdul the BulBul Emir,” but the only version they had was dreadful.)

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