Amazon recently launched a really great effort in the digital music arena called Amazon MP3. I’ve been a hardcore iTunes Store customer since it’s debut and haven’t really been tempted by other digital music stores. That is, until Amazon MP3 made its debut.
Amazon is one of the first companies to really jump in and put up fight with what they offer:
- Over 2 million songs
- Every song is encoded at atleast 256kbps
- Every song is DRM-free
- Many full-length albums are only $4.99
- A large portion of songs are only 89 cents
The big kicker in that list is that all the songs are DRM-free right out of the gate. You don’t have to pay extra for it or doing some hackery to rip the songs and remove the DRM…you just get it.
I decided to give Amazon MP3 a little run-through to see how well it worked with OSX/iTunes.
Find A Song/Album
I was having a craving for some generic pop-punk tunes so I decided I’d check out the new We The Kings album. A quick search for “we the kings” got me, for the most part, what I was looking for.
Preview the Album
A quick click through on the album name in the search results and I got the album’s page where I can preview each song with Amazon’s inline flash song player. Clicking “Preview All” will stream all the song clips one after another.
So upon previewing the album, I came to the conclusion that this would indeed fulfill my need for some generic pop-punk tunes.
Upon purchasing the songs you are then prompted to download them. To download the songs from Amazon, they have a lightweight application (around 1MB) that you must download and install. Using their downloader will automatically add your songs to iTunes or Windows Media Player. No need to find where they downloaded the files or anything of that sort…they just automatically are imported in to your media player.
After downloading the Amazon MP3 Downloader, you can then download the album download file. There is a .amz file for each download group. So if you click to purchase 3 albums, you’d have 3 .amz files (1 for each album). If you purchase 12 individual songs, you’d have 12 .amz files. These files initiate the download process from the Amazon servers.
Double-clicking the .amz files launched the Amazon MP3 Downloader and shows you the status of each song download. After each song is downloaded, it is automatically added to your iTunes library. Unfortunately Amazon creates its own “Amazon MP3″ directory in your Music folder, despite your songs being moved to the iTunes folder. You can simply delete the Amazon MP3 directory after each download (or whenever you choose).
Overall the Amazon MP3 experience was really just about flawless. Amazon’s foray in to this market has changed things for me a bit in regards to where I’ll buy music from. I’ll now be sure to check Amazon.com first for MP3s before I purchase them from iTunes. You might want to do the same. There’s a good chance you’ll find the album for cheaper that will be DRM-free and higher quality audio.
Honesty my only complaint is in regards to the comment I made earlier about Amazon creating a second copy of the music in its own directory, but that’s a non-issue when some albums are half the price they are on iTunes.
Be sure to take a look through the store…you just might find something you can’t do without.