What Amazon has done is to create a storage area 'in the cloud' in other words on their servers. This cloud belongs to and is accessible only by the me. I can upload my music, bought from Amazon or not, to my cloud. Then play it on any computer over the internet. Its my music you see, I bought it, I own it - or at least a licence to listen to it in anyway I want (not to copy it to someone else obviously, but maybe I could sell it, transferring it to another person's cloud, at a price? I can sell a CD).
Copyright NOT device-right
Copyright cannot be sliced and diced to make it a 'device-right' limiting me to listening only from one device! The iPod has seen to that, now its the cloud's turn.
But the greedy music industry doesn't like this and believes that you need another licence to store it on your cloud, and another to play your music on another computer than the one you first downloaded it to. Or another one to keep a copy on your cloud... a sort of backup really.
Amazon have a catch-it for that. Buy a track from them and they put it straight away on your cloud storage for you. You can then play it on any computer you want providing you have the login and password to your cloud. You can also of course download it.
Well done Amazon, next is Apple who seem to a bit behind in this race, surprising isn't it?
We want to own own music and we want it better quality.
I will make no bones about the fact that I detest lossy tracks and neither Amazon, Apple or most record companies have done anything to get our downloads up to even CD quality (16/44.1 straight AIFF, non compressed files). When clearly there is an opportunity for the industry to move on and offer a quality better than CD. Say 24/48 or better 24/96 with lossless compression to reduce download bandwidth.
So, Amazon and Apple that is the next challenge. Get to it!
PS I believe that if you subscribe to Apple's cloud service "Mobile Me" then you can keep your iTunes library on the iDisk storage they provide. The only difference being you do not, I suppose , keep a copy on ay other computer. But you can share it to other machines using "home Sharing"...