joined the ranks of music-streaming services yesterday by unveiling Cloud Player, allowing users to buy tracks, store them on the company’s servers and play them on computers and Android smartphones.

Music libraries can be uploaded to Amazon’s so-called Cloud Drive, with memory starting for free at 5 gigabytes, the company said in a statement yesterday. Users who buy an album from will be upgraded to 20 gigabytes of Cloud Drive space, which can be used to store music, photos, videos and other files.

The move by Amazon places it a step ahead of rivals including Google and Apple, both of which are reportedly aiming to start similar services. Record companies have struck licensing deals with existing music-streaming services, such as Spotify, Rdio and Music Unlimited, to help offset the effects of rampant piracy and drops in purchases of compact discs.

Cloud Player, which is bundled into the latest version of Amazon’s MP3 application, lets users listen to tracks on Android smartphones, as well as on personal computers utilizing Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari for Mac or Chrome Internet browsers.