Amazon has unveiled an online music service that lets users upload songs and play them from a range of devices.
The internet retailer launched its Cloud Player in the US, ahead of rivals Apple and Google which are rumoured to be developing similar systems.
Users are given 5Gb of storage space, roughly equivalent to 1,200 tracks, but can opt to pay for additional capacity.
Cloud Player works with Blackberry, Palm and Android mobiles, although there is no support for Apple's iOS.
Commenting on the launch, Amazon's vice president of movies and music, Bill Carr said: "Our customers have told us they don't want to download music to their work computers or phones because they find it hard to move music around to different devices."
Rival systems Although a number of smaller cloud music services already exist, such as mSpot and AudioBox, Amazon is the first of the big technology companies to venture into this area.
Speculation has been rife that Apple would launch a cloud based version of iTunes since it purchased the online music service Lala in December 2009.
It is widely expected that its offering will come as part of a broader re-launch of the MobileMe platform.
Google, which already offers cloud services in the form of Gmail and Google Documents, is also believed to be testing a music storage system, or "locker".
Source :: bbc.co.uk