Even with that limitation, Sinnreich sees Cloud Drive, licensed or not, as a smart move. And the first step by one of the three companies -- Amazon, Apple and Google -- toward a reworking of the way people acquire and consume digital music.
"This is not an understatement: It's a harbinger of the new era," said Sinnreich. "There's been a lot of hype in the past year about how cloud services would revolutionize the digital music experience. This is the first major foray into that space."
And although the labels want Amazon and others to negotiate deals before launching lockers or streaming services, Amazon may have been clever by debuting Cloud Drive sans licensing.
"This was a smart move," said Sinnreich. "If Cloud Drive attracts customers, Amazon can then go to the labels and say, 'Look how good this is doing.' Let's talk licensing."
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