Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Amazon.com Launches Public Beta of Amazon MP3, its DRM-free music store

Last month I wrote that Amazon.com would be launching their digital music store in September. Well, they made it. Here it is Sept. 25th, and they have announced the public beta of their store, named Amazon MP3.

As I said previously, because of the DRM-free nature of the downloads, you won't find any Sony BMG or Warner Music Group titles here (you will find EMI). But that's no different than the DRM-free music on iTunes, with prices lower than at iTunes.

DRM-free music at iTunes runs slightly higher than their normal prices (well, when you map out it percentage-wise, it's not so slight) at $1.29 vs 99¢. At Amazon MP3 songs range from 89¢ to 99¢, with more than half of the 2 million songs priced at 89¢. And the top 100 songs will be 89¢ (unless otherwise marked). Meanwhile albums will run from $5.99 to $9.99, with the top 100 best-selling albums at $8.99 or less (once again, unless marked otherwise).

In a statement from their press release, Bill Carr, Amazon.com Vice President for Digital Music said:
"Amazon MP3 is an all-MP3, DRM-free catalog of a la carte music from major labels and independent labels, playable on any device, in high-quality audio, at low prices. This new digital music service has already been through an extensive private beta, and today we're excited to offer it to our customers as a fully functional public beta. We look forward to receiving feedback from our customers and using their input to refine the service."
What do I think? It's cheaper than iTunes, right? And what does everyone want (sometimes to the detriment of our health, in terms of lead-laden toys)? Cheaper, cheaper, cheaper. Amazon.com is also a pretty popular online store (to make an understatement). Though it won't make a serious dent overall because of the lack of some of the big record labels, it will most likely dent the DRM-free sales at iTunes.

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