Amazon’s DRM-Free MP3s


Amazon has been fairly effective in using its platform — recall they were originally a  book store — as a launching pad for other ideas and online business concepts.

The latest brainchild? Digital music downloads, challenging Apple’s
iTunes via DRM free MP3s (now with variable pricing!)

As we have seen, none of the previous challenger shave managed to dent Apple’s dominance in digital music. Wal-Mart? Gone. Real, eMusic, Sandisk? Pshaw. And what about the mighty Zune? Don’t make me laugh.

All that said, Amazon’s MP3 store, now in public beta testing, has quite a few things going for it:

1) Embedded purchases right in the Amazon CD pages, complete with all
of the things — reviews, commentary, etc. — that make Amazon an enjoyable
online shopping experience.

2) Music that can be
played on and freely moved between multiple devices

3) ~2 million songs (1/3 of iTunes)
from independent labels, EMI Universal Music Group.

4) Songs
encoded at 256kbps (higher quality);

5) Priced from 89 to 99 cents, with
albums $5.99 to $9.99.

6) Oh, and music free of digital rights management restrictions

If nothing else, this is proof that the digital download business is maturing, and that Apple’s competition will be continually challenging their dominance.

I can’t say I will be using this much — I prefer to buy CDs, rip them myself, make a few backup copies, then store the original somewhere safe  — but its an intriguing concept.


I almost bought this song — First Night — but instead, bought the full CD, Boys and Girls in America. Go figure . . . 

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