Amazon have today launched their Music Cloud Player in the UK.

Launched in the USA in July it has made it to the UK just ahead of the release of the Kindle Fire in Europe.

There's no getting away from the comparison to Apples' iTunes Match service and they both offer a similar service, but Amazon clearly want to make an impact with their offering. So how does it work?

Download an app to your computer and it will scan your music collection, activating it in the Amazon Music Cloud. You are then free to listen to this music on other devices, streaming the music rather than downloading it.

This means your complete music collection is available on all your devices. The Amazon Cloud Player allows up to 10 devices to be activated.

If you prefer not to stream you can selectively download to devices for off line listening. Amazon have pulled out all the stops with this service -- you can access your music via a web interface, as well as native apps for iOS (iPhone, iPad), Android phones and tablets and the Kindle Fire devices. The service is free for up to 250 tracks, or you can pay £21.99 per year to store up to a massive 250,000.

Any tracks bought directly from Amazon do not count towards this limit, which is another excellent decision. In a very clever move the Amazon Cloud Player will also scan your complete Apple iTunes music collection and make all the tracks on this available in the Amazon cloud.

Any tracks not available via the Amazon library are uploaded to your Cloud and continue to be available to you. You really get the sense they are challenging Apple; whereas they both charge the same per year, Apples Match service is a mere 25,000 tracks -- a 10th of the Amazon limit. Greg Greeley, Vice President of EU Retail at Amazon, said:

The launch of Cloud Player in the UK means that customers can buy anywhere, play anywhere, and keep all of their music in one place without the need for constant software updates, or drives and cables to move and manage their music.

Perhaps on the slightly negative side, the UK cost is much higher than the US -- at current exchange rates we in the UK are paying $36 to the US $25 for the same service. One other question -- where is Google?

Their Play music service shows no sign of leaving American shores! Well done Amazon.

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