Feeds

Amazon opens DRM-free music store

Almost music-free, too

Security for virtualized datacentres

Amazon.com has opened its DRM-free music store for business. Songs are available for $0.89 per song, or $6 to $10 for an album.

Amazon applies "fingerprints" rather than "locks" to music, the idea being that music exchanges can be tracked at a later date, rather than prevented from the outset. Files are encoded in the (old) MP3 format, at 256 kbps bit rate.

Amazon claims that several labels - Sugar Hill and Trojan - have never sold digital music in unprotected form before.

It's a challenge to iTunes - which not only uses DRM, but a DRM that only Apple devices can decode - but also to eMusic, the popular DRM-free subscription service. The concept isn't new: Bleep, which began life as an offshoot of Warp Records in 2004, now sells unencumbered music from hundreds of independent labels.

However, the repertory on offer at Amazon is smaller than its biggest rivals. Amazon says two million songs are available, while eMusic and Apple claim 2.7 million and three million are online on their stores, respectively.

Mac and PC clients are available. And in common with its rivals, except Apple, Amazon is offering a pure web-only interface.

What are its chances of success?

It's competing with free, of course - and free gets better every day: unlicensed music has the largest repertory on the "market". While the low price may satisfy impulse buyers, eMusic still looks better value - ranging from 43¢ a song, to 28¢ a song. DRM-free subscription services don't penalize you for discovering new music.

Have a go here; we'll compare notes below.

Last week, one of the high street's best known music retail names Virgin threw in the onlinetowel. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
HBO shocks US pay TV world: We're down with OTT. Netflix says, 'Gee'
This affects every broadcaster, every cable guy
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
French 'terror law' declares WAR on the INTERNET itself, say digi-rights folks
Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité: Two out of three ain't bad
SCREW YOU, EU: BBC rolls out Right To Remember as Google deletes links
Not even Google can withstand the power of Auntie
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.