Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Amazon Launches ‘Public Beta’ of DRM-Free Music Download Store

Man, Gruber is all over the new Amazon store. He makes some good observations, though, so here's a guide to Gruber's coverage:

Amazon Launches ‘Public Beta’ of DRM-Free Music Download Store

Very cool: Amazon has launched a “public beta” of Amazon MP3, a DRM-free music download store. Compares well against iTunes: singles cost $.89 or $.99, albums cost $5.99 to $9.99, and, because the format is DRM-free MP3 (encoded at a respectable 256 kbps), the files are compatible with all digital music players, as well as all operating systems.

The Amazon MP3 Store and Amazon MP3 Downloader
The new Amazon MP3 Store looks like no previous iTunes Store rival. The music is completely DRM-free, encoded at a very respectable 256 kbps, includes a ton of songs from major record labels, and offers terrific software support for Mac OS X.

Paul Thurrott, Unimpressed by Amazon MP3 Store
I think offering the largest library of DRM-free downloadable music is quite exceptional. I predict a year from now, Amazon’s store will be a solid #2 to iTunes — and that Wal-Mart’s, assuming it’s still peddling DRM-ware, will remain in nowheresville. Any store selling music that won’t play on iPods is doomed.

More on the Amazon MP3 Store
So why Amazon is even bothering with a music download store, given that “everyone knows” the iTunes Store is a loss-leader that Apple offers just to sell more iPods? Because that’s bullshit. Apple is making good money from the iTunes Store.

People are talking about this all over the place. Why all the curiosity and analysis? It's not just because Amazon is a player, as other big players have tried and failed. I think people sense that Amazon might be on to something and that maybe this store has a chance to take on iTunes. Certainly, there's wide agreement that Apple could use some healthy competition in this space and that the music labels need to see that DRM-free distribution is a viable and preferable model that benefits everyone.



  1. I like the fact that Amazon went with a simple downloader and left the actual playback of the music up to the user.

  2. Yeah, I think Amazon has put together about the best store that can be done under current market conditions. Well, the store design and merchandising could use some help, but the offering itself looks very sound.