Thursday, September 27, 2007

Amazon Launches Public Beta Digital Music Store

Amazon.com, the world’s leading online store, on Tuesday launched a public beta of its Amazon MP3, a new digital music store that will carry tracks without copyright protection. Already now Amazon MP3 features over two million of records, but how long will it take before the store will reach the level of market leader Apple iTunes.

Every song on Amazon MP3 is encoded into MP3 format at 256Kb/s, which gives customers high audio quality at a manageable file size, whereas the lack of any digital rights management (DRM) technologies allows end-users to listen to their tracks on any devices, burn them on compact discs or record them on flash memory cards to enjoy their music on mobile phones.

Amazon MP3 has over 2 million songs from more than 180,000 artists represented by over 20 000 major and independent labels. Most songs are priced from $0.89 to $0.99, with more than 1 million of the 2 million songs priced at 89 cents. The top 100 best-selling songs are $0.89, unless marked otherwise. Most albums are priced from $5.99 to $9.99. The top 100 best-selling albums are $8.99 or less, unless marked otherwise, the company said in a statement.

“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,” said Bill Carr, Amazon.com vice president for digital music.

Even though the new digital music store does offer attractive service with no DRM and subscription requirements, considering the fact that the market leader Apple iTunes already sells TV-shows and movies and has 6 million songs available, Amazon’s MP3 store will have to expand its services to really dethrone the iTunes. On the other hand, compatibility with each and every digital media player in the industry as well as relatively low prices are very likely to bring popularity to Amazon MP3.

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