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Amazon MP3 Store to Go Global in 2008 196

Posted by Soulskill
from the and-in-this-corner dept.
Amazon announced in a press release today their plans to sell DRM-free music worldwide through the Amazon MP3 store beginning later this year. This news is being viewed by some as the latest volley in Amazon's digital music sales war with Apple's iTunes. Since Amazon has completed its plans to offer DRM-free music from all four major record labels (most recently, Sony and Warner), the global availability of the MP3s can only be excellent news for customers.
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Amazon MP3 Store to Go Global in 2008

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  • It's about time... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TofuMatt (1105351) on Sunday January 27, 2008 @11:27AM (#22200192) Homepage
    This is what I've been waiting for, seriously. I will be able to buy my music online, and actually own it now. I don't think anything more than "awesome" need be said.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      And you haven't been able to with Apple's DRM-free tracks?
      • by h4rm0ny (722443) on Sunday January 27, 2008 @11:59AM (#22200372) Journal

        Not since iTunes broke Linux compatibility. Count me in as another customer sitting here with a pile of cash waiting them to actually let me buy from them. And more competition in the market is a good thing, anyway.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by darjen (879890)
          My question is whether Apple will release a utility to strip the DRM from previously purchased tracks that they now offer DRM free. I haven't heard that this will be the case. I have about a hundred Itunes tracks purchased with it, that will eventually be worthless.

          If they don't, I will use Amazon to purchase individual tracks from now on.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            The current iTunes Plus (i.e. DRM-free and higher bitrate) tracks are $1.29, and Apple will upgrade existing tracks that are now available as DRM-free for 30 cents, the difference in price. So Amazon is a much better deal, but if you already have music from iTMS, then the upgrade price will be cheaper. Click on the "iTunes Plus" link in the store and you should see a button in the upper left to upgrade if any tracks are available.

            Having tried the Amazon MP3 service, I see no reason to continue buying

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            Try MyFairTunes [hymn-project.org]. It will let you strip the DRM out of your itunes library without a loss in quality. From the hymn-project.org website on why to use their software: "To demonstrate your belief in the principles of fair-use under copyright law." Beautiful.
            • by darjen (879890)
              Thanks for the info, I might give that a shot.

              My point was though, that Apple should make an official utility available for free to strip the DRM from tracks you've already purchased. Instead, they charge you extra for that.
        • I too have cash to spend on mp3's - Though mine is in £ sterling.
          Wonder if we're gonna get ripped off on the exchange rate the way we do at the apple store?

    • by tsa (15680)
      Hurray. Finally I'm not tied to a certain player anymore.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Actually you hit the nail on the head, there was an article about how DRM free music would mean the deathnell for the music industry. This year alone as short as it has been I have spent more at amazon.com on DRM free music than I have spent on music in the last 3-4 years.

      It is fast easy and cheap, available 24 hours a day, it is not proprietary. I also find myself buying weird things as well I never ever would have bought in a store. The other night I was having trouble sleeping, usually sounds of rain or
      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        I've also spent more in the past year than I did in any other year on music. The reason is similar to yours. I discovered eMusic. DRM free tracks for a fair price. Sure I don't get all the big name bands, but there's plenty of quality music there, and enough so that I have a long list of stuff I'm just waiting to download when the start of month rolls around (I'm too cheap to buy booster packs, and don't have the time to really listen to that much new music every month anyway). I will stick with eMusic
  • by Mike89 (1006497) on Sunday January 27, 2008 @11:31AM (#22200210)
    Why's this tagged "whatcouldpossiblygowrong"?
    • by stormguard2099 (1177733) on Sunday January 27, 2008 @12:40PM (#22200604)
      I know what could possibly go wrong, some jackass tags every story with that, thus removing all meaning from it so when the mad scientists put the brain of Hilter into a great white shark no one even thinks of the possible consequences.
      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        I know what could possibly go wrong, some jackass tags every story with that, thus removing all meaning from it so when the mad scientists put the brain of Hilter into a great white shark no one even thinks of the possible consequences.
        So really, the only question left is who will the US Government dispatch to jump the Great White Hitler Shark:
        Sylvester Stallone (aka John Rambo) or Chuck Norris?
    • by zsau (266209)
      Why's it got any tags at all? The trial has clearly been a complete failure. Anyone with half a brain would've turned it off already. Almost all tags either duplicate the categories the editors have put the article in already, or are stupid tags like this one that really belong in the comments section.
  • by Derek Loev (1050412) on Sunday January 27, 2008 @11:32AM (#22200226)
    This may be a bit off topic...but:
    Does every single Slashdot article need to be tagged with "What could possibly go wrong?" I mean, seriously, what could possibly go wrong here?
    • by MonsterOfTheLake (880659) on Sunday January 27, 2008 @11:40AM (#22200274) Homepage
      Apple could go out of business after iTunes collapses.

      Oh, sorry, you said "what could possibly go wrong." Yeah, nothing really.

      *hides from Apple zealots*
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TheRaven64 (641858)
        Actually, that probably would be very bad. With the iTunes store in a strong position the big four have an incentive to give favourable terms to everyone else (no DRM, lower prices, and so on). Without iTunes, the market would be fragmented and no one would have enough bargaining power to get a particularly good deal. Microsoft would probably blow a billion or so giving discounts on their store in Zune-only format, propelling the Zune to the number one spot, at which point the labels would start saying '
      • by daBass (56811)
        Nah, Apple sells about 10 million Macs a year and 40 million iPods - all at a margin of about 30%. They can now also add a couple of million iPhones to those numbers which also bring in a lot of subscription revenue. Last year they made about 15 BILLION *net* profit. They sold about 2 billion songs last year at $0.99 each. Even if they get to keep $0.25 of that it is only a very small part of their earnings. Not selling any tracks on the iTunes store isn't likely to put them out of business.

        And considering
    • by leehwtsohg (618675) on Sunday January 27, 2008 @11:53AM (#22200334)
      What could go wrong? How about:
      Music industry starts selling DRM-free mp3, stopping its decline and saving the RIAA for the next clueless battle.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      well.......

      you can use this service but be warned, global price fixing by the RIAA/IFPI is being utilised denying any credit transactions that originate from a card outside your own territory, just as they fixed it with iTunes and forced apple to implement regional price fixing.


      The BPI Are: SONY, UNIVERSAL, WARNER GROUP, EMI.

      The RIAA Soundexchange Are: SONY, UNIVERSAL, WARNER GROUP, EMI.

      The IFPI Are: The Same A$$ Holes Like 1 ring to control them all.

      The MPAA Are: SONY, UNIVERSAL, WARNER GROUP, D
    • by volsung (378)

      Tags are the distilled essence of smart ass commentary. Rather than waste time rehashing a tired point, now you can just type "whatcouldpossiblygowrong" and move on. Time saving at its finest!

      It is very fitting that this tag has become the most popular. Every story about anything new is filled with armchair critique about the fatal flaws in the new device/process/scientific discovery/program from a /. user who assumes the experts involved have at least as superficial a knowledge of the field as they

      • I don't think it's so bad as you make it out to be. Nearly every advance in just about everything has brought about unintended negative consequences. The fact that the normal prole has picked up on this is a good thing, more people looking before they leap. That in itself may have unintended negative consequences too, but I think it's mostly good.
  • by a_nonamiss (743253) on Sunday January 27, 2008 @11:35AM (#22200242)
    It's nice to hear about these companies that are going to release DRM-free music, but I have yet to see anything real. It's the kind of thing that makes a nice press announcement, but it seems like they don't really have to do anything. With today's technology and the existing infrastructure, it should take about 15 minutes to get this thing up and running. What's the hold-up? I'm still waiting on my Beatles on iTunes that was announced in early 2007!
    • by Niten (201835) on Sunday January 27, 2008 @11:39AM (#22200268)

      You are aware that the DRM-free Amazon MP3 store is already up and running, aren't you? I've bought about four albums' worth of music from it since the store launched months ago. The news here is only that Amazon MP3 will be opening internationally.

      • I am, but I am also aware that they seem to be dragging their feet. It may just be that the artists I enjoy aren't available on the site because of the labels they are signed with, but I have found that every time I have ever searched for anything on Amazon.com MP3 downloads, it hasn't been there. I really hope this announcement is followed by some real action and I can start purchasing music again...
    • With today's technology and the existing infrastructure, it should take about 15 minutes to get this thing up and running.

      I imagine that the hold up isn't on the technology side. I imagine that most of the difficulty is on the legal end.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by value_added (719364)
      I'm still waiting on my Beatles on iTunes that was announced in early 2007!

      I wouldn't worry about it. I have a friend who has a complete Beatles collection on LPs, and from what I've heard, you're not missing much.
      • by Bluesman (104513)
        Finally someone else who sees (or hears) through the Beatlemania hype. Thank you for that post.
        • Finally someone else who sees (or hears) through the Beatlemania hype. Thank you for that post.

          Yer welcome. ;-)

          The OP's issue is an interesting one, and is illustrative of the many issues concerning on-line distribution of music. That said, I can't help but find it funny for a number of different reasons. My first record was a '45 of 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand' on the 'Apple' logo. I outgrew both the recording and the crappy turntable I used to play it on in short order, and discovered the Rolling Stones al
  • This is good news since refilling your balance at mp3sparks was getting complicated. Plus you get the added benefit of money actually going to the artists without having to suffer through locked down formats. All players play mp3 nowadays, not all of them play AAC or WMA.
  • Linux support (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ProteusQ (665382) <dontbother@n o w here.com> on Sunday January 27, 2008 @11:42AM (#22200286) Journal
    Amazon limits the number of tracks you can buy and $$ you can save per download unless you download entire albums using their download software. However, it's only available for Windows and Mac.

    eMusic also requires that you download their application, but they offer a nice GUI-based app for Linux. They even claim that it runs on a 2.2.14 kernel! Their selection isn't as good, and their business model is different (subscription vs. per download), but it's worth taking a look.

    If nothing, email Amazon and ask for a Linux downloader. Mentioning eMusic ought to help get them moving in the right direction.
    • Re:Linux support (Score:5, Informative)

      by RedK (112790) on Sunday January 27, 2008 @11:52AM (#22200328)
      The Linux version of the downloader is in the works :

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200154260 [amazon.com]
      If you use Linux, you can currently buy individual songs. A Linux version of the Amazon MP3 Downloader is under development, and when released will allow entire album purchases.

      Though not very well supported, the Windows downloader works in Wine :

      http://mad-scientist.us/amazon.html [mad-scientist.us]
  • Being UK based I remember last year I got all excited about some obscure MP3's I found on the amazon.com download section - and then spotted the little (Amazon MP3 Purchases are limited to U.S. customers.) disclaimer. D'oh!
    I guess it won't be there much longer...
  • Can't believe it! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Reality Master 101 (179095) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .101retsaMytilaeR.> on Sunday January 27, 2008 @12:00PM (#22200374) Homepage Journal

    Steve Jobs claimed a while back that he didn't like DRM, and had to do it because of the labels. Now we have Amazon selling true MP3s for all four major labels. So where's Steve?

    Wow, could it be that he really wants DRM to lock people into iTunes and the iPod? Nahhhhh, not our Steve! He'd NEVER do that! Maybe he's just not as crafty as Amazon.

    • by k2enemy (555744) on Sunday January 27, 2008 @12:49PM (#22200656)

      Steve Jobs claimed a while back that he didn't like DRM, and had to do it because of the labels. Now we have Amazon selling true MP3s for all four major labels. So where's Steve?

      Based on what I've read, I think the record companies are trying to avoid a situation where iTunes has a monopsony in the (wholesale) market for digital music. If iTunes is the only reseller of digital music then Apple has a lot of bargaining power in price negotiations and will be able to pay the labels a low price.

      By not allowing Apple to sell tracks DRM free while at the same time allowing stores like Amazon to do so, they allow the other stores to gain market share and catch up a little with Apple. Then no one buyer has the entire market and the record labels can retain some price setting power.
      • It's worth pointing out that Apple are not entirely disinterested in their desire for DRM-free music. The iPod has gone through five or six different major revisions now, each with a different firmware. Every time a hole in the DRM is found, Apple have to port the fix to every single version. If the labels would let them turn off DRM on sold songs then it would cut their support costs (and their development costs for iTunes).

        Not that I have a problem with this. Most people and corporations are more rel

    • Re:Can't believe it! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by corby (56462) on Sunday January 27, 2008 @12:54PM (#22200690)
      Now we have Amazon selling true MP3s for all four major labels. So where's Steve?

      Steve is right where he said he would be. For labels such as EMI that have agreed to license DRM-free music to iTunes, Steve is carrying that music under the iTunes Plus label.

      Most of the labels that have started licensing DRM-free music to Amazon are refusing to license it to Apple. This is their big fuck-you to Steve Jobs to try and break the iTunes Store 'monopoly'.

      And unlike everything else the record companies have ever done in the digital space, this has a chance of working. I put off using Amazon for a long time because I didn't want to install their downloader, but once I did I was hooked.

      Amazon is selling music at reasonable prices. Their store is more convenient to use than BitTorrent, and the music is of a consistently higher quality than what I can get off of Pirate Bay.

      Look, ma, I'm paying for all of my music again!
    • by yabos (719499)
      You don't think they'd sell DRM free music from all labels if they could? Of course they would. The labels are being assholes by only allowing Amazon to sell DRM free tracks because Amazon is more flexible on pricing. I believe something like this could be challenged in court by Apple because if this is having a significant effect on Apple's sales and the labels are doing it on purpose to hurt Apple's market share of digital music sales then this would probably be illegal. At least it should be.
    • Here's his position:
      http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughtsonmusic/ [apple.com]

      Thoughts on Music
      Steve Jobs
      February 6, 2007

      ...

      "The third alternative is to abolish DRMs entirely. Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. If the big four music co
    • by dangitman (862676)

      Steve Jobs claimed a while back that he didn't like DRM, and had to do it because of the labels. Now we have Amazon selling true MP3s for all four major labels. So where's Steve?

      Duh. The record labels (except for EMI) won't let "Steve" sell their tracks in DRM-free format, but will let Amazon do it.

      Although I do suspect you are trolling. Otherwise, you must be extremely naive or ignorant not to understand this. The fact that you refer to contracts with Apple, the company, as contracts with Steve Jobs, the person - does seem to indicate ignorance.

      • Duh. The record labels (except for EMI) won't let "Steve" sell their tracks in DRM-free format, but will let Amazon do it.

        Proof?

        • by dangitman (862676)

          Eh? Apple obviously allows labels to offer DRM-free music, as they offer it from EMI. It is up to the labels to allow Apple the rights to do so. Furthermore, there have been comments from the labels about how they want to stick it to Apple and give others (like Amazon) a competitive example.

          I'm not sure why "proof" is needed for the idea that labels have to authorize Apple to sell their wares DRM-free, as it's rather self-evident. Apple doesn't own the content, they can only distribute it under the terms o

          • Eh? Apple obviously allows labels to offer DRM-free music, as they offer it from EMI.

            Yes -- for ripoff prices. Why doesn't Apple dump the DRM version entirely?

            Furthermore, there have been comments from the labels about how they want to stick it to Apple and give others (like Amazon) a competitive example.

            I have not read any comments about "sticking it to Apple". Perhaps you'd give a link. I might believe they mentioned wanting more outlets, but there's nothing remarkable about that.

            I'm not sure

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by onefriedrice (1171917)

              On the other hand, it's VERY much typical behavior for Steve to try and lock people into his products.

              Proof?

              By the way, Apple lowered their "iTunes Plus" (no DRM) prices when Amazon came out with their MP3 service. It now costs the same as regular DRM songs. This should indicate to you that Apple is willing to ditch DRM entirely, seeing as how they are willing to charge the same prices.

              I'm surprised you haven't seen the common theory that the major labels aren't giving non-DRM rights to Apple yet in order to retain pricing control. I don't know if anyone can prove it, but it certainly is the most

  • by RalphBNumbers (655475) on Sunday January 27, 2008 @12:03PM (#22200388)
    It's a sales war between Universal/Warner/Sony and Apple, Amazon is just the labels' chosen weapon.

    What would really be good for customers would be if the labels let everyone sell DRM free music, including Apple, and let the consumer decide where they want to buy their music in a real free-market sales war.
  • I've been using the Zune Pass subscription for the past couple of months, and I'll never go back to one-off music purchases ever again.

    For $15/month, I can download all the music I want. If I stop paying, the music will stop working after 3 months. For some people that's unacceptable, but for the price of a single CD, I think it's a damn good deal.

    I've found myself simply clicking on the "related artists" link in the Zune Marketplace and downloading everything that's listed. It's a fantastic way to discover
    • by ctid (449118)

      For $15/month, I can download all the music I want. If I stop paying, the music will stop working after 3 months. For some people that's unacceptable, but for the price of a single CD, I think it's a damn good deal.

      Is this for real? So you have to pay $15 per month for the rest of your life if you want to keep listening to the music you have bought? Am I misunderstanding what you said? Surely that's the worst deal of all time isn't it?
      • Is this for real? So you have to pay $15 per month for the rest of your life if you want to keep listening to the music you have bought? Am I misunderstanding what you said? Surely that's the worst deal of all time isn't it?

        No, you're not misunderstanding. If you stop paying, the music you have downloaded will stop working in 3 months.

        You're not buying the music. You're paying for access to a music library in the same way people pay for Sirius radio or premium streaming radio online. Sirius radio is about $120/year, or $10/month... but you don't get to "save" that music anywhere, nor do you get to choose what you listen to aside from picking a station.

        If you really want to keep that music, you also have the option to buy it o

        • by ctid (449118)
          I thought it was a bad deal because I hadn't understood that there is an alternative to buy the tracks outright. I hadn't understood what your deal was offering you.
      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        Seems to work fine for the cable TV industry. Guess what, if you stop paying your cable bill, you don't get to watch cable TV anymore. So, for the price of 1 CD per month, you get to listen to all the music you want to. Sounds like great idea to me. One that would suit a lot of people.
  • by MarkWatson (189759) on Sunday January 27, 2008 @01:17PM (#22200812) Homepage
    As a long time iTunes customer, I have started buying from Amazon. With iTunes, I would always backup the music that I bought to an audio CDR, then re-import as MP3 -- Amazon selling MP3s saves me real effort.

    Buying music online is a good deal, if you can back it up and enjoy it over a long time period.
  • by Jeeproxx (1174681) on Sunday January 27, 2008 @03:05PM (#22201440)
    I work for the CMRRA (Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency), we are the ones who handle music publishing in Canada. Period. The reality is that this is mostly a move to stimulate sales but not a long term reality. The vast majority of higher selling (charting) product will continued to be delivered with DRM protection. It only stands to reason. Everybody in the music industry realizes that DRM is nothing but a 'speed bump' and not a long term solution to meeting their goals. The reality is, despite the Sony rootkit fiasco, the future will bring either more invasive software at the consumer level or more control at the ISP level. Trust me... I am a not happy about this, I am not impressed with many of the actions of the RIAA and WIPO but this is the reality. You are looking at an entire industry collapsing.... and fast. They are fighting for their very exsistance and loosing. The money is gone. It will very soon be harder and harder for artists to have access to the funds to successfully produce and market their music in the conventional format. Physical distribution will not be consistant... and films are next. You can keep making 400 million dollar movies when you can't make more the 250 million back. It just not sustainable. Things will continue on, however, in a far different model. The problem is that no one can forsee the emerging buisness model and how to transition into this model. Open Source software will replace conventional digital tools for media editing (since the art and beauty of analogue has already died) and do so quite well. Online distribution, which will endup enduring harsh filtering and monitoring. We have brought this on ourselves. I don't agree with ISP filtering/monitoring, root kit technologies, or suing of endusers. I have watched my friends loose their jobs, one after the other for too long. Studios closing left and right, labels laying off staff year after year, great musicians not getting the finances they need because there isn't enough to go around and they haven't got enough "Bling". Last year, for every 32 artist that got signed, only two of those made money, a couple more would break even, and the rest lost money. Record companies are the agencies which provide the funding and marketing resources where conventional banks won't. It all soo sad. I love music. I've invested years of my life and 10's of thousands of dollars on education and equipment. Now I'm back in school at night studying programming and network administration. Perhaps if people took a minute to realize that by not paying for the music they are starving artist, engineers, producers.... people who have worked in the industry for 20 and 30 years are finding themselves at 50 yrs old and having to try and find some sort of job to continue feeding their families. My heart goes out to the 2000+ people who are loosing their jobs with EMI. PLEASE... TAKE A MINUTE TO CONSIDER THE FACTS. Don't let the fat paycheques of the CEO's and ignorant lawsuits of the RIAA blind your eyes to the realities being endured by thousands of people who work hard to make the music you listen to.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rueger (210566)
      I'm also in Canada. Instead of offering the age old complaint that musicians need to get paid (with which I don't argue) you need to tell us all how to make sure that that happens in a technologically changing environment. Wishing won't make it so, neither will bullying, so what does the music industry (and/or performers) need to do?

      As is the case with spam, the technology will always stay one step ahead of the government. For instance, many of the big ISPs have been throttling or otherwise crippling
  • Amazon "gets it" (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MK_CSGuy (953563)
    With services for developers like EC2 and S3 I feel Amazon is underestimated big time - they are one of the few big companies that really "get it".
    • by Mex (191941)
      I may be modded down, but I always said Apple didn't "get it" when it came to online sales. Amazon is doing a much better offering with this.

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