Amazon MP3 Swoops in on iTunes

Dennis Faas's picture

Last week we reported on the release of a new legal downloading page called "," which boasts free downloading but disallows users from uploading material to an iPod. Since it's not much of a competitor for iTunes (although it will surely take a few customers away), Amazon has a more deadly new weapon in its arsenal.

Already firmly established as the world's largest online compact disc retailer, it's really not much of a leap for Amazon to take on Apple in this sphere. Although iTunes certainly retains great name recognition when it comes to online music sales, Amazon's recently announced competing site could, and perhaps should eclipse the competition.

Amazon MP3

Yep, that's the name of Amazon's new baby. Quick and simple to say and remember, the retailer is promising users it'll be just as easy to use. There will be no Digital Rights Management, or DRM to worry about, songs will cost just 89 cents, and the MP3 format allows users to upload to just about any portable device. (Source:

What's that all mean?

Essentially, that Amazon promises a better format, lower price, and no DRM headaches for a dime-per-song less than iTunes.

If you're wondering why Amazon has made such a move, the company says it was fairly simple. Customers who bought the hardware, such as an iPod or Zune (which exclusively uses Windows Media files), were unable to upload any music without going to iTunes or Zune's database. For consumers it was a pain, but for Amazon it was like selling a car with an empty gas tank; not so satisfying for customers, even less satisfying when one considers the potential profits.

Because of all this, analysts aren't so surprised Amazon has announced the venture. They're also fairly confident the Seattle-based company will be successful; "There's really nobody else in the market that is in as strong a position to make a music store than Amazon. They have the right customers, they're already selling music and they're selling MP3 players. So as long as they can sell the music in MP3 format, they have a killer combination," said one market researcher. (Source:

Cheaper music and no DRM sounds like a killer combo to me, too.

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