Amazon MP3

Amazon MP3

Infobox Online music service
opened=September 25, 2007
service_name=Amazon MP3

pricing=variable pricing per album
platforms=Windows, Mac OS X, Linux
format=Unprotected MP3 (.mp3) @ 256 kbit/s
catalogue=Over 5 million songs
preview=30 Seconds
availability=U.S. only

Amazon MP3 is a digital music store owned and operated by Launched in public beta on September 25, 2007, in January 2008 it became the first music store to sell music without digital rights management (DRM) from the four major music labels (EMI, Universal, Warner Music, and Sony BMG), as well as many independents. [ Launches Public Beta of Amazon MP3] ] cite news|url=|title=Amazon to Sell Warner Music Minus Copy Protection|publisher=The New York Times|date=December 28, 2007|accessdate=2007-12-28|last=Leeds|first=Jeff] cite news|url=|title=Amazon Adds Fourth Major Record Label To DRM-Free Music Store|publisher=InformationWeek|accessdate=2008-01-12|date=January 10, 2008] cite web|url=|title=Sony Drives Another Nail in the D.R.M. Coffin|publisher=New York Times|date=January 10, 2008|accessdate=2008-01-12] All tracks are sold in 256 kilobits-per-second variable bitrate MP3 format without per-customer watermarking or DRM. Music can only be sold to customers in the United States, as required by the music labels [ [ Help > Digital Products Help > Amazon MP3 Music Downloads > Amazon MP3 Music Terms of Use ] ] .

Catalog availability

At launch, Amazon offered "over 2 million songs from more than 180,000 artists and over 20,000 labels, including EMI Music and Universal Music Group," to customers located in the United States only. In December 2007 Warner Music announced that it would offer its catalog on Amazon MP3 and in January 2008, Sony BMG followed suit. The current catalog is over 5 million songs. [ Amazon stated in a recent widget release 5m catalog] ]

In January 2008, Amazon announced plans to roll Amazon MP3 out "internationally." [ Amazon to Begin International Rollout of Amazon MP3 in 2008] ] Until February 2008, international users had been able to purchase music by entering a U.S. billing address for their credit cards. Amazon now limits international access by checking users' credit card issued country.

upported platforms

Amazon MP3's catalog is accessible from the web site by searching for an artist or title name. To download purchased music, offers the [ Amazon MP3 Downloader] which is optional for individual tracks and required for album purchases. The Downloader is available for Windows (XP or Vista), Mac OS X 10.4 or higher, and Linux (packages are provided for Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora and openSUSE). It saves purchased music into a particular folder and can, at the user's discretion, add purchased tracks to the library in Windows Media Player (Windows only) or iTunes (Windows and Mac OS X only) automatically after download.

An Amazon MP3 application for the Android mobile device platform will be preloaded on T-Mobile G1 smartphones due for release in October 2008. The application allows mobile phone users to download individual tracks and albums.cite news|author=Hachman, Mark|title=Amazon Confirms Music Store for 'Google Phone'|url=,2817,2330974,00.asp|date=September 23, 2008|work=PC Magazine|publisher=Ziff Davis|accessdate=2008-09-23] cite news|author=Yager, Tom|title=Android to debut in T-Mobile's G1 smartphone|url=|date=September 23, 2008|work=InfoWorld|publisher=IDG|accessdate=2008-09-23]


On February 1, 2008, Pepsi introduced a Pepsi Stuff promotion in partnership with Amazon MP3. [ Amazon, Pepsi Team For Super Bowl MP3 Giveaway] ] [ Amazon, Pepsi Prep Massive MP3 Promotion] ] Customers can exchange points offered on 4 billion Pepsi bottles for, among other prizes, MP3 downloads from Warner, EMI, and Sony BMG (though not Universal).

Rockstar Games' 2008 title "Grand Theft Auto IV" connects to Amazon MP3. Players can dial a special number on the main character's mobile phone while listening to a song on the radio. In the game, the character will receive a text message on his phone indicating the title and artist. Players can also register on the Rockstar Games Social Club web site to receive e-mail outside the game containing a link to buy marked songs from Amazon MP3. [cite web|date=2008-04-10|url=|title=GTA IV Unveils New Music Download Model|publisher=Yahoo!|accessdate=2008-04-10]

MySpace has sold music from Amazon MP3 as part of its MySpace Music feature since September 2008. [cite news|author=Van Buskirk, Eliot|title=MySpace Takes On iTunes With DRM-Free, Amazon-Backed Site|url=|date=September 24, 2008|work=Wired News|publisher=CondéNet|accessdate=2008-09-25]


Initial reaction to Amazon MP3 was generally positive. The Unofficial Apple Weblog praised the lack of DRM especially given that track prices were cheaper than iTunes Plus songs at launch, but the reviewer considered the user experience better in iTunes than on the Amazon web site. [ Amazon MP3: a quick review] ] Om Malik of GigaOM also praised the lack of DRM and the high bitrate but disliked the need to install another application to download albums. Overall, the reviewer said "…I think it makes sense for everyone to browse the Amazon store before hitting the 'buy' button on iTunes." [ Amazon MP3 vs. Apple iTunes: Where Should You Shop?] ]

A study by Elliot Van Buskirk of "Wired News"'s Listening Post blog investigated whether Amazon MP3 was watermarking tracks with personally identifiable information. Van Buskirk quoted an Amazon spokesperson as saying, "Amazon does not apply watermarks. Files are generally provided to us from the labels and some labels use watermarks to identify the retailer who sold the tracks (there is no information on the tracks that identifies the customer)." The study concluded that although tracks may be watermarked to indicate that they were purchased on Amazon MP3, there is no data to indicate which specific customer purchased a given MP3 file. [ Some of Amazon's MP3 Tracks Contain Watermarks] ]


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