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Summary:

A quick test of Amazon’s (NSDQ: AMZN) new DRM-free “Amazon MP3″ offerings suggests that the service works as advertised, perhaps even exceed…

A quick test of Amazon’s (NSDQ: AMZN) new DRM-free “Amazon MP3” offerings suggests that the service works as advertised, perhaps even exceeding expectations. Before downloading music, Amazon asks you to install its MP3 Downloader onto your desktop, a process which took just 30 seconds from download to installation. After that, selecting a whole album or an individual track can be done with two clicks. Once downloaded, the tracks are immediately sent from the MP3 Downloader to iTunes, making the process painless and quick. Our previous news post on Amazon.com MP3 launch here.

Of course, the one limitation is the lack of available content, as Vivendi (EPA: VIV) and EMI are the only majors to have signed on. A search for the new Rilo Kiley album showed nothing available. A search for Bob Dylan also failed to turn up anything, but the site helpfully suggested other similar artists to check out in the meantime while Amazon adds more to its catalog. Ultimately, considering how easy the process was, including the quick transfer to iTunes, the service could be a credible competitor to the iTunes Music Store, particularly if it can make more music available.

Staci adds: I haven’t had a chance to test the actual downloads but did have this experience while exploring: I logged in to check out the site, clicked on the link that said “We have MP3 Downloads Recommendations for you” and got this reply: “Sorry, we have no recommendations for you in this category today. Please check back later or browse these top-selling items.” Will be interesting to see if that changes now that I’ve listened to some previews and done some searches.

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  1. Did major music labels like Universal Music make a deal with Apple? I found a map from NewsVisual http://www.newsvisual.com/newsvisual/2007/09/multiple-ties-p.html that shows that Amazon and Vivendi SA (the parent company of Universal Music) have some pretty strong connections. Maybe these played a role in the deal. If so, what a boon for Amazon.

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