Amazon plans iTunes rival
Jumps on DRM-free wagon
Amazon.com is prepping an MP3 music download store, offering DRM-free songs from EMI and 12,000 other labels.
The e-tailer will open shop "later this year". In the meantime it is not commenting on pricing.
But according to WebProNews, Amazon is said to be offering "full album downloads retailing at $4.99 to $8.99 and individual tracks ranging from $.89-$.99".
Bruce Houghton, the author of the WebProNews story, appears to have the inside gen on launch time too. He cites unnamed sources who says that "Amazon is pushing for an 'as soon as possible' launch that is primarily being held up by technology and data issues. June or July would seem a likely launch time frame as Amazon is anxious to beat competitors to the inevitable rush of DRM free product".
Speculation was rife last month that EMI's agreement to sell DRM-free music would tempt Amazon, the internet's top seller of physical format music, into launching its own iTunes rival.
EMI announced its first venture into DRM-free downloads, through a deal with Apple. ®
Listening to the wind of change....
Of the DRM-free sources I already purchase tracks from (Beatport and DanceTracksDigital) the choices are:
AAC @ 192k,
MP3 @ 320k and
WAV @ 1.4M (CD rate).
Since this seems to be a trend of sorts, I would expect that Amazon would follow suit with at least the first two options here.
The only matter for concern will be the cost per track, as apart from the obvious notion that the exchange rate is nearly 2-to-1, amazon.co.uk would have to pay a different fee to MCPS than amazon.com would to RIAA. When I last checked, MCPS charge 12% on the "download" mechanical, where as RIAA charge 8%.
It does mean more money for the artists though. Remember them?
Buying from the US
Amazon.com seems quite happy to sell me books in the UK, which I quite often do if I can't source them from amazon.co.uk (amazingly, it's often cheaper even with the extra postage). I wonder how they would justify NOT doing so with a product that doesn't even have to be shipped?
Well you know, they've got to translate all the tracks to UK English, then ship them thousands of miles across water. Thats got to cost something.
So long as it costs less, is DRM free, and is higher quality than what iTunes provides, I don't see how it could go wrong. Oh yeah, these are Apple/iTunes users we're talking about here...
I wonder if it'll be vanilla MP3 or AAC or something. Too bad I'm on of the 6 people that actually enjoys OGG on this planet...