Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Amazon.com Launches iTunes Killer: DRM-Free Music Á La Carte

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics:

amazon mp3: play anywhere, except your ipod, screw apple

For all you foes of Apple and restricted digital music out there, you’ll want to give Amazon’s new MP3 download service a try right away. With single tracks running about 89 cents and most full albums at $8.99 or below, it definitely looks like Amazon is trying to break into the digital music market Apple has had cornered for a couple of years now.

The selection at the moment is a little more sparse than what iTunes has to offer. I randomly selected a dozen tunes from my own MP3 library and could only find six of them in the Amazon library. The reason for the smaller initial selection may be the fact that the music you download from Amazon has no digitial rights management (DRM) software embedded to prevent you from burning it to CDs, loading it on your favorite MP3 player, or sharing it with a friend. A lot of people have been asking for a music download service like this, and it seems Amazon is more than eager to meet the demands of the market.

From the Amazon MP3 FAQ, here are some of the features you’ll get with the music you download from them:

  • Variable bit rate, averaging 256 kbps
  • All downloads are in MP3 format only
  • Over 2 million songs to choose from
  • Also includes music catalogs from many independent record labels
  • Amy Winehouse not included with your download of her songs

Give Amazon a few months to work out the DRM issues with the major record companies, and I’m sure their library will balloon to a size similar to that of iTunes (currently over 6 million songs versus just 2 million at Amazon). You heard it here first, folks: Amazon will take a big bite out of the music download market from Apple, possibly even surpassing them by 2009.

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