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Amazon tuning in to music downloads, says paper

MC Bezos comin' atcha, claims Wall Street Journal. Sort of

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Amazon.com is preparing an alternative to Apple's iTunes Music Store, the Wall Street Journal reports. According to the paper, the online retailer is looking to license music from the major labels and others, with a view not simply to offer a download service but to allow punters to pre-load players with stacks of tracks.

The players, the report claims, could even be own-brand devices.

Amazon.com's move has been welcomed by the music industry, apparently, which considers the retailer possesses one of the few brands strong enough to tackle Apple head on. That said, it would also go up against the likes of Napster, Virgin Digital, Yahoo!, RealNetworks' Rhapsody, Wal-Mart and all the other digital music providers.

Amazon.com's no stranger to claims it's about to enter the digital music arena. Two years ago, it was even said to be in talks with Apple to operate as a ITMS reseller. At that point - June 2003 - Amazon still hadn't got into the digital downloads for sale, despite "looking at it for years", according to CEO Jeff Bezos.

Even today it hasn't fully embraced the market, preferring for the time being to address the much, much larger discount CD business, though it does offer some free downloads. ®

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