No More iTunes Envy

November 9, 2006 Posted by admin

amazon-mp3-no-drm

Enter AmazonMP3. No longer will you have to struggle with ridiculous file formats and the need for foreign credit cards. The online retailing giant has taken the next logical step in its evolution and opened a digital music store. What’s more it’s gone about it in the right way.

As reported previously, AmazonMP3 will sell DRM-free albums and individual tracks from a host of leading major and indie labels. At present these include Universal, EMI, Beggars, Interscope, Matador, Arts and Crafts, Alligator, Sanctuary, Rounder, Sugar Hill and Trojan with more to be added. Albums range in price from $5 to $9 with most new releases at the upper end of that. With tracks going for between 89c and 99c, there is significant incentive placed on the purchase of full albums.

The platform is still in beta, but a quick scan of the catalogue revealed the latest efforts from The New Pornographers, Feist, Spoon, Arcade Fire, The National and even Kevin Drew’s debut, released this week and currently on heavy rotation. I also saw back catalogue stuff from Pavement, Radiohead and Sonic Youth to name a few.

Indeed, if AmazonMP3 comes to offer anything near the comprehensive range of CDs that its parent has accumulated, there will be little reason for anyone to use iTunes at all. Here’s hoping for a price war.

Wired Listening Post points out that although DRM-free, AmazonMP3 tracks will carry a watermark. As these watermarks merely indicate the place of purchase and are added by the labels to the master and then supplied to Amazon, they do not currently pose any privacy risks. This is a situation that will need to be monitored however if the whole posse of major labels jump on board.

Something from Kevin Drew, because it’s a happy day.