iTunes, You Just Got Some Serious Competition

by Jimmy Akin

in Technology

Amazon.com has just launched its new mp3 download service, which offers DRM-free music for download.

EXCERPTS:

Web retailer Amazon.com Inc. launched its
much-anticipated digital music store Tuesday with nearly 2.3 million
songs, none of them protected against copying.

The
store, Amazon MP3, lets shoppers buy and download individual songs or
entire albums. The tracks can be copied to multiple computers, burned
onto CDs and played on most types of PCs and portable devices,
including Apple Inc.’s iPod and Microsoft Corp.’s Zune.

Songs cost 89 cents to 99 cents each and albums sell for $5.99 to $9.99.

Major
music labels Universal Music Group and EMI Music have signed on to sell
their tracks on Amazon, as have thousands of independent labels. The
company said several smaller labels are selling their music without
copy protection for the first time on the Amazon store, including
Rounder Records and Trojan Records.

The thing that is different about this venture, compared to other similar ones, is that Amazon has the corporate muscle ot give iTunes a run for its money–or rather, a run for our money. Even if it doesn’t have as big a catalog as iTunes right now, it more than its competitors has the potential to get there and even surpass the selection on iTunes.

So naturally Amazon’s stock went up.

Shares of Amazon rose 89 cents to $93.48 Tuesday.

In other words, the price of a song.

This is, of course, good news for all of us, as it is likely to lead to lead to more DRM-free media in the future.

GET THE STORY.

VISIT THE SITE.

Now they just need to let me put mp3 songs and albums with previews in my aStore.

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{ 18 comments }

John Thayer Jensen September 25, 2007 at 6:30 pm

Miserable people – when I tried to download the Saint-Saens 5th piano concerto, which the orchestra I play in is playing next time, and which I can’t find in mp3 anywhere else, Amazon tells me I can’t download it in my country!
You got me so excited, James!

SDG September 25, 2007 at 6:31 pm

(Someone needs to say it.) “Who’s James?” (hi JT!)

IA_ September 25, 2007 at 6:47 pm

Anyone know the bitrate?

John Thayer Jensen September 25, 2007 at 6:51 pm

Hello, Steven :-) You don’t hear much from us these days, but Sue and I use your decentfilms website quite regularly – and I read your post on fasting last night going home on the ‘bus and was ashamed of myself :-)
jj

Mark Scott Abeln September 25, 2007 at 7:22 pm

Jimmy,
This may be somewhat off-topic, but would you happen to know the Church’s moral stance on intellectual property? The current trend in these laws seems to be problematical.

Jeff Miller September 25, 2007 at 8:10 pm

So far though Amazon’s catalog is not as extensive as iTunes, but at least they are 256 kbps.
Walmart also recently started offering DRM free mp3 also at 256 kbps.
iTunes though does offer DRM free tracks also from EMI, but the rate at Amazon is much better at .89 vice 1.29. Hopefully this will cause iTunes to offer those tracks at least at their original price.
Competition is great and at least I can now look at multiple sources for the best deal.

Benedict September 25, 2007 at 8:29 pm

All I want is the new song by Chad Kroger and Santana and they do not have it at Amazon yet.
:-(

Brent Brown September 25, 2007 at 10:42 pm

Mmmm.. Bought a KJ-52 album. Works great and even added it to iTunes for me. iTunes has some competition indeed…
This may be somewhat off-topic, but would you happen to know the Church’s moral stance on intellectual property?
Jimmy talks about this here

Tom Simon September 26, 2007 at 2:58 am

It should perhaps be pointed out that iTunes’ DRM-free tracks are 256k AAC (i.e. MPEG-4 audio), which is by all accounts a higher-quality encoding than 256k MP3. Also that the $1.29 price of those tracks was set by contract with EMI, and iTunes does not have the power to lower it unilaterally.
Universal is shooting itself in the foot with this deal. This is not about competition; this is about setting up Amazon as a monopoly supplier of Universal’s music catalogue (in DRM-free form), because Universal objected to having Apple as a monopoly supplier. The decision to have a monopoly is Universal’s, and it is an unnecessary decision. It would serve them better to sell through both Amazon and iTunes, but for some reason they are unwilling to do that.
I believe the usual term for this is ‘out of the frying pan into the fire’.

Monica September 26, 2007 at 7:39 am

great news! I’m headed over to check it out.

Maureen September 26, 2007 at 7:55 am

That would be the AAC files that my player can’t play? And the iTunes that doesn’t even have a version that will run with my OS?
“Monopoly” goes both ways.

JohnD September 26, 2007 at 8:23 am

Any service or device that has a proprietary format, I wouldn’t touch with a 40 foot pole.
I want to be able to swap out my hardware as time goes by without the threat of losing my data or having to hassle with converting formats. I’m glad to hear that companies are finally starting to respond to folks like me.

Ed Peters September 26, 2007 at 12:00 pm

Ed (not Jimmy, not SDG, not Tim Jones) here:
Music is enough for a life, but a life is not enough for music.
(Line stolen from somebody, but I don’t remember whom.)

BrianC September 26, 2007 at 12:41 pm

Amazon UnBox and AmazonMP3 Mr. Jobs Mr. Bezos would like to meet with you.

Esau September 26, 2007 at 1:24 pm

Music is enough for a life, but a life is not enough for music.
Bill912,
That’s a nice variation of Ars longa, vita brevis!

Tom Simon September 27, 2007 at 7:20 pm

That would be the AAC files that my player can’t play? And the iTunes that doesn’t even have a version that will run with my OS?
“Monopoly” goes both ways.

Let me get this straight. Apple set up the iTunes Music Store as a service for people who bought their iPods, so they could get music online (when most online music services were deliberately incompatible with the iPod or the Mac or both). You choose not to use an iPod or iTunes. Instead, you use one of the many alternatives on the market.
And this adds up to Apple being a monopoly . . . how?

SouthCoast September 27, 2007 at 8:17 pm

WOOOOHOOOOOOOO!!!! FINALLY!!! Left Banke’s “Walk Away Renee” and “PRETTY BALLERINA”! The whole album, no less. I was about to pay through the nose on eBay for a CD, and got it for $9.99, making me one happy music freak! On the other hand, I still can’t find Burning Sensations “Belly of the Whale” anywhere…

Engineer Geek September 28, 2007 at 5:54 am

“That would be the AAC files that my player can’t play? And the iTunes that doesn’t even have a version that will run with my OS?”
It isn’t convenient, but you can get around the proprietary audio format. After you buy the music over the internet using iTunes, burn a CD into CDA format using the iTunes burner. You can then play it in any home audio device, so its not a waste, and good for backup in case your hard drive crashes.
Then turn around and rip the newly burned CD, again using iTunes, making sure your settings are at “mp3”. Now you have files good to go for any mp3 player.
Sorry, can’t help you with the OS problems.

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