Amazon has spoken with some of the major record companies and Hollywood film studios about creating a digital locker service for their film and music libraries and could announce the plans as early as next week.
Sources from both the film and music industries said Amazon is working on creating a cloud locker service that would enable users to store their existing music, film, and book collections, even content not purchased at Amazon, on the company's servers.
The online merchant has yet to obtain all the necessary licenses, but Amazon managers told counterparts at the studios and labels that it could announce the service before all the negotiations are complete, the sources said.
An Amazon spokesperson wasn't immediately available for comment.
Amazon is in a hurry to win the race to the cloud, according to the sources. It has been widely reported that both Apple and Google are busy preparing their own media locker services.Yesterday, music industry sources told CNET that Google has begun testing a much anticipated music service, one that will offer users the ability to store their music on Google's servers and access it from any Web-connected device.
Entertainment and technology companies are betting big that consumers will be attracted to the ubiquitous access to digital media. No more clogged hard drives or forgetting to pack the DVD for the vacation trip.
Amazon already has extensive experience with cloud services. Amazon stores electronic books on its servers for owners of the company's popular Kindle e-book reader. Kindle users can buy e-books from Amazon.com, download them to their devices from wherever they can access the Web, and Amazon will save the digital copy in the customer's digital locker.
Another example is Amazon's Instant Video, where customers buy movies and TV shows and access them from Amazon's site anytime they want. Last month, Amazon said it would stream free of charge any one of 5,000 movies and TV shows to members of the company's Prime service.
That one move sent shares of Netflix, the Web's top video-rental service, plummeting. The reason was simple. Wall Street analysts said Amazon has the retail experience and consumer reach to make a serious claim for cloud distribution.