Amazon to sell digital music

Surprise, surprise -- we said so three months ago

This week's Basil Fawlty "stating the bleedin' obvious" award goes to the Reuters reporter who asked Amazon.com's general manager for music sales, Jennifer Cast, if the company will be selling digital music at any time in the future. Cast's response: "Obviously." Not only are music downloads a clear extension of what Amazon is already doing with CDs and tapes, but all of its e-retail competitors talking about the digital music market with drooling relish, Amazon would be just plain daft not to. In any case, since Amazon is already dipping its toe in the download pool -- as The Register reported back in June, when the online retailer began offering sample tracks in Liquid Audio format to tease album buyers. Amazon has clearly found the water warm and comfortable, to the extent that, according to Cast, the company will begin to sell downloads "between now and the end of December... [or] more likely we'll do something in 2000". The retailers timeframe is clearly dependent on sufficient numbers of people buying digital music players, and while various manufacturers are looking to get kit out in time for Christmas (most notably Sony and Diamond Multimedia), others, like Matsushita, Phillips and Toshiba, are waiting until mid-2000 before entering the market. ®

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