Amazon to take MP3 downloads international
DRM-free service to roll out this year
Presenting possibly the biggest threat to the dominance of iTunes so far, Amazon.com has announced it will commence an international roll-out of Amazon MP3, it's DRM-free digital music store, this year.
Amazon MP3 will offer customers MP3s free from the constrains of digital rights management from all four major music labels - including Warner, as we reported in December, as well as over 33,000 independent labels. Every track will be compatible with almost any device, including PCs and Macs, iPods, Zunes, Creative's players and music-enabled phones.
All tracks on Amazon are compatible with iTunes and Windows Media Player
"We have received thousands of emails from Amazon customers around the world asking us when we will make Amazon MP3 available outside of the US," Amazon.com VP of digital music, Bill Carr, said.
"We are excited to tell those customers today that Amazon MP3 is going international this year."
Launched in the US in September last year, Amazon MP3 currently offers over 3.3 million songs from more than 270,000 artists and every song and album in the store is available in MP3 format without DRM software. Most tracks are priced from 89 cents to 99 cents, while most albums are priced from $5.99 to $9.99.
Amazon however, has not given details of specific launch dates for each relevant country.
So, ripping people off with high prices it's a good thing ?
To those claiming that people don't bother and wouldn't be able to tell the difference between lossy and lossless audio.. so multinationals can keep selling MP3 lossy encoded audio tracks at high prices for maximum profits at a fraction of the cost they had for CD distribution? Remove the higher quality physical media from the market and sell only lossy encoded lower quality versions of the products which ensures no delivery, packaging, marketing costs ?
For current prices and to be fair towards customers they should offer APE/FLAC lossless encoded audio tracks along with high-resolution cover arts and a license to print them for personal use. Also, the license should state that the owner is allowed to make copies to his/her relatives and parents. Simply because they know that that would happen anyway, so why keep negating that ?
Anyway what is for sure is that current prices are too high for MP3 lossy encoded audio tracks. They should lower MP3 tracks to 10-30cents each and leave current prices for APE/FLAC lossless versions.
It's a marketing dig. ITunes DRM songs won't play on WMP and vice versa. Buy the DRM free songs from Amazon and they'll play on either or any player.
Competition is this market is good. If anyone thinks that Apple is just going to throw in the towel is kidding themselves.
I'm feeling optimistic today and don't see why Amazon would charge more than the US - so in my mind, the release of this service in the UK and the price sticking between $4-$10 in UK monies, could be the the year I stop being a downloading pirate *YARRR*, and start paying for music again. The only reason I stopped was the fact I never use CD's, that CD's started being mean to PC's, and the downloaded DRM hell I refused to buy into at a higher cost per track..... looks like Amazon are about to call my bluff! ;)
WMP and itunes?
Why the mention of WMP and iTunes? Surely MP3 should be compatible with any MP3 player and should not require any proprietary software to be installed? That's just as bad as DRM!
Why an incremental rollout?
It must be more difficult than unblocking sales to all IP address. I wouldn't have expected this announcement if the right holders hadn't already agreed.