Amazon MP3: Look out iTunes

12 Comments

Amazon MP3

Today Amazon launched its public beta of Amazon MP3. Amazon MP3 is Amazon.com’s foray into the digital music scene…and a it’s an extremely solid effort to say the least.

Pricing per song is between 89 and 99 cents and albums between $4.99 and $9.99. The Top 100 albums are being priced at the lower amounts, which I assume is to try and give themselves a little bit of competitive advantage.

The really big kicker here is that this music is DRM free. Yes, free. There is nothing tying in the files to a specific player, application, or operating system.

On top of the music being DRM free, it’s all encoded at 256kbps. On iTunes you’ve gotta fork over an extra 30 cents if you want the 256k bringing the total to $1.29 for a 256kbps encoded song. Talk about a punch in the gut.

The obvious downside to Amazon MP3 at this point in time is that it only has a selection of 2 million songs, compared to iTunes 6 million+ songs. I would imagine Amazon will have significantly more work ahead of them to reach the size of selection iTunes offers mainly because record execs are stuck in the dark ages and won’t wise up to the digital age of music.

Amazon MP3 really is the first solid effort at tacking on the beast that is the iTunes Store. It will be exciting to see where Amazon takes things.

12 Comments

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Charles

While the files have no DRM, they are watermarked. Unlike the iTunes info which is stored deep inside some proprietary atoms in the mp4 file, the Amazon watermark is embedded in the audio, potentially affecting its quality.

FG

I like Amazon MP3 a lot, however, one of the albums I purchased was not 256 kbps as advertised but VBR. Not pleased.

Jonathan Naundrup

I really don’t think this will change any prices in iTunes.. I wouldn’t know Apple if they just lowered the prices because of competition..

I just hope for a fixed track price in iTunes across Europe. There are some huge differences..

Tom B

Shouldn’t be a problem; if Amazon starts gaining traction, iTunes can lower its prices. End of Amazon.

RichS

Just something that’s rarely mentioned… there is NO difference in price for the iTunes+ (higher quality, no DRM) version if you purchase the complete album ($9.99). The $1.29 price is for single track purchases only. BTW, 256kbps AAC is much better quality (approaches full .AIFF) than 256kbps mp3.

Amazon may be OK when you search for a specific track, but it’s very slow and frustrating to use if you want to just “browse.” iTunes is much faster and more user friendly for “window shopping.”

Yea, the current $.89 cent/no DRM price is punishment for Steve Jobs, but the record companies will eventually shoot themselves in the foot with their “variable pricing” agenda of being able to price new/popular tracks higher than Steve would allow.

iTunes scares the record companies to death. With everything priced the same, the only way to stand out (i.e. sell more) is to offer higher quality “musical” content… and that’s something the record labels forgot how to do a long time ago!… can anyone say album “filler” tracks?

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