John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Amazon Digital-Music Market Share to Be Recorded in Apple Lossless

Apple’s not going to turn iTunes into the Microsoft Windows of the digital music space if Amazon can help it. This morning the retailer announced the public beta of its much-anticipated music download service, breathlessly touting it as “the world’s biggest selection of a la carte DRM-free MP3 music downloads.”

Amazon MP3, as the company’s cleverly named it, offers more than two million songs from 180,000 artists and over 20,000 major and independent labels, all of them in DRM-free MP3 format. Songs are digitized at 256 kilobits per second and cost between 89 cents and 99 cents per track–a bit less than their iTunes Plus doppelgangers, which Apple has been peddling for $1.29 each. That said, songs purchased from Amazon MP3, unlike those purchased from iTunes, can only be downloaded once. If they’re subsequently deleted or lost because of a system or disk error, Amazon won’t replace them free of charge. You’ve got to buy them all over again.

Just like a CD …

Anyway … With Sony and Virgin Digital both shuttering their online music offerings and Yahoo Music reportedly considering the shutdown of one or more of its subscription-based services, Amazon MP3 seems to be launching at a particularly opportune time. And given Amazon’s retail market power, it will likely do well.

But well enough to pose a credible threat to iTunes? Consensus among industry observers seems to be no. Says hypebot:

The Amazon MP3 Download Store IS NOT:

  • The iTunes killer.
  • Serious competition yes. Killer no. Too many people are used to the iTunes-to-iPod experience no matter how easy Amazon makes it.”