I always wondered which company would be able to compete with Apple's iTunes store and only a handful companies came to my mind. Besides Microsoft and eBay Amazon came to my mind. They are a established brand and I do not know a single person who does not have an Amazon account already.
With the right strategy and advertisement they could build a service that would be able to compete with iTunes. Before I go on I would like to add that I personally think that all services are inferior to P2P even with the risks involved but it will be a long time before the Music Industry will acknowledge this.
Back to Amazon. To compete they have to do better than iTunes otherwise not many users would want to make the switch to Amazon considering Apple's coolness factor with the kids and nerds.
Amazon tries to achieve this by offering DRM free albums that have a maximum price of $9.99 while most are sold for $4.99 to $8.99 compared to Apple's price of $9.99. Some albums are even priced lower than this. The cheapest that I was able to find was priced at $0.99.
The license agreement grants the user the right to copy, burn, store and transfer the music downloaded for private use not mentioning any maximum number of computers or devices that you can transfer the music to. Every song can be listened to for thirty seconds before deciding whether to purchase it.
I did make a test purchase of course and have to say that the speed is excellent. I paid $0.89 for Smells Like Teen Spirit from Nirvana. The song is using 256 Kbps and has all the mp3 tags needed as well as cover art included. Amazon does store a song Id in the mp3 tags.
Visiting the site again it told me that I had purchased that song already at today's date.
Amazon does offer a download manager that users could use to download the songs but this is not a must. I decided to download the song without the download manager. I suppose it could be a good idea if you do download a lot of albums from Amazon.
The download manager can automatically add the songs to iTunes or Windows Media Player when the download finishes.
The only real problem that I see at the moment is that the amount of songs that are offered is inferior to Apple's catalogue. Several major labels are not represented yet at Amazon's Mp3 store. This should be a top priority for Amazon.
Users should compare prices between iTunes and Amazon Mp3 if the album or song is available at both stores and most likely the Amazon store will be cheaper if the song is available there.
Amazon MP3 Beta
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.