Adding Music to Your Fire
You can add music to your Fire in three ways: upload it from your computer to your Amazon Cloud Drive by using the Amazon Cloud Player, transfer it to your Fire using the Fire’s USB mode, or buy it from the MP3 store on the Fire.
This section discusses each method.
I mentioned Amazon’s Cloud Drive and Cloud Player in the first chapter of this book because they are both important to the Fire. Here’s a refresher: Amazon gives anyone with an Amazon account (that’s you) 5GB of free storage space on its servers. You can store whatever you like using this storage: documents, music, or videos. Once you’ve uploaded your files to your Cloud Drive, you’re able to access them with a web interface. In addition, Amazon will store any music you buy from the Amazon MP3 store in your Cloud Drive for free. This music doesn’t take up any of the storage space, so you will still have 5GB of storage even if you purchase 8GB of music from Amazon. For more information about Cloud Drive, check out https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/learnmore.
Amazon Cloud Player allows you to play all those songs stored on your Cloud Drive on a variety of devices through your web browser (www.amazon.com/cloudplayer), on an Android-powered smartphone, and on the Kindle Fire. This is where all the music in the Cloud library on your Fire comes from.
To automatically add any music you buy from Amazon (on either your Kindle or Amazon.com’s MP3 store) to your Music library, tap the menu icon in the options bar and select Settings. There is a whole section called Amazon Cloud Drive Settings (Figure 4.15). Tap “Delivery preference” to set either “Save purchases to your Cloud Drive” or “Save purchases to this device.” I suggest making use of the free Amazon Cloud Drive storage to save the storage space on your Fire.
Figure 4.15 Amazon Cloud Drive settings allow you to save all your Amazon MP3 purchases to the cloud.
If you want to have your cake and eat it too, tap “Automatic downloads” to have the music saved to your Cloud Drive automatically downloaded to your Fire.
Uploading Your Own Music to Your Cloud Drive
Now that your Amazon purchases are saved to your Cloud Drive, why not upload all the music on your computer to your Cloud Drive? This way, you can access all your music from your Kindle Fire without taking up any space on the device (assuming you have an active Wi-Fi connection).
Music files (only non-DRMed MP3s and AACs can be uploaded to your Cloud Drive) from sources other than Amazon do count toward your storage limit, so you can upload only 5GB for free. However, for $20 a year Amazon allows you to upload an unlimited number of music files and adds 20GB to your Cloud Drive, bringing your total available storage for other files to 25GB.
No matter which plan you decide to go with, uploading your music to your Cloud Drive works the same way. On the computer with the music you want to upload, point a browser to Amazon.com and then click MP3s & Cloud Player (Figure 4.16). Click Cloud Player for the Web, and a new window will open (Figure 4.17).
Figure 4.17 Amazon Cloud Player for the Web
You’ll find a yellow Upload button with the amount of space you have left on your Cloud Drive for music storage (Figure 4.18). Click it, and you’ll be prompted to install the Amazon MP3 Uploader. Follow the directions to install the application on your computer (PCs and Macs are both supported).
Figure 4.18 Click the “Upload your music” button to launch, or download, the Amazon MP3 Uploader.
Once it is installed, it will launch automatically and start searching your computer for music (Figure 4.19). It searches only well-known locations (the default location for your iTunes library and the Music folder on your Windows computer). If you store your music in a custom location, the Uploader won’t be able to find it, but it will allow you to manually select a folder. Select the folder you store your music in and click Scan, and the Uploader will merrily scan that folder for supported music files.
Figure 4.19 The Amazon MP3 Uploader scanning a computer for music
When the scan is completed, a window appears telling you how many files you can upload to Amazon and how many you’ve previously uploaded (the Uploader is smart enough to upload only those files that weren’t there when it last ran) (Figure 4.20).
Figure 4.20 Success. The Uploader has found 27 new songs to upload.
Click OK, and now you’re ready to upload these files. All the files that you can upload to your Cloud Drive will be displayed. You can uncheck any files, playlists, or folders you don’t want to upload. Once you’re happy with your selections, click the “Start upload” button, and the upload commences (Figure 4.21). Depending on how many files you’re uploading and the speed of your Internet connection, this process can take quite a long time. An estimated time is displayed, as is a progress bar for each upload.
Figure 4.21 The Uploader lists all the music it has found along with a link to view the songs that it cannot upload.
Chances are your Music library will have some songs that the Uploader won’t upload. In Figure 4.21, you can see a yellow alert at the bottom of the screen that says “524 songs not included.” Click the link to see the full list of incompatible files and why they couldn’t be uploaded (Figure 4.22). You can copy the list to the clipboard so you can paste it into a text document for future reference.
Figure 4.22 Music that can’t be uploaded for one reason or another. Click the Copy to Clipboard button if you want to save this list.
As the files upload, they will be added to the Latest Uploads playlist on your Kindle Fire (and in the Cloud Player for the Web) so you can listen to them right away.
Transfer Your Own Music
If you’re more of a do-it-yourselfer, you can load your Kindle Fire with music directly. Keep in mind that any music added to your Fire via this method will use up space on the device.
You’ll need a micro-USB cable to do this. Plug your Fire into a USB port on the computer with the music files on it using a micro-USB cable. The Fire will go into USB drive mode and show up either on the Desktop of your Mac or in the Windows File Explorer as a drive called Kindle (Figure 4.24).
Figure 4.24 When you connect your Fire to your computer, it becomes a USB drive called KINDLE.
Double-click the drive, and you’ll see all the directories on your Kindle (Figure 4.25 on the next page). Notice there is a Music folder; that’s where you’re going to add your music. The Fire will play back MP3s and AACs; no other audio files are supported, though. If you move other types of files into the Music folder, they will take up space; they just won’t be playable.
Figure 4.25 These are all the directories on your Kindle Fire.
Drag and drop files, or whole directories, of music onto the Fire’s Music directory. When you’re finished transferring songs, tap the Disconnect button on the Fire’s screen, and your songs will appear in the Device Music library.
Buying Music on the Fire
Tap the Store button to shop in the Amazon MP3 store right from your Fire (Figure 4.26). This store is much like the other stores on the Kindle. At the top you’ll find Featured albums you can swipe through. Below that are some other sections of the store: Bestsellers, New Releases, and Genres. Tap any of those buttons to be taken to that section of the store.
Figure 4.26 The Kindle MP3 store
Rounding out the storefront are some recommendations for you based on your Amazon purchase history. Both Albums and Songs are listed; toggle between the two lists by tapping the appropriate button. Each album or song has a button with the price displayed next to it.
Tap an album to see a list of all the songs on the album, along with individual prices for each track (Figure 4.27). Tapping one of the tracks starts a 30- or 60-second sample so you can get a taste for what you’re about to buy.
Figure 4.27 Tap the play icon to preview a song for 30 seconds, and tap the orange button to buy it.
If you like what you hear, tap the button with the price. It turns into a green Buy button. Tap again, and depending on your settings, the songs are added to your Cloud Drive, downloaded to your Fire, or both (Figure 4.28).
Figure 4.28 When you purchase a song or album, it can be added to your Cloud Drive, your Fire, or both.
You can listen to the songs as soon as the process is complete.
If you aren’t sure what exactly you want from the MP3 store, you can always search. The search results include Albums and Songs buttons, so you can switch between the two (Figure 4.29). Tapping an album from the search results gives you more details about it, and tapping a song plays the preview.
Figure 4.29 Searching for music in the store is very easy.