Today Amazon raised the stakes in the realm of online music sales with the beta release of Amazon MP3. I know there are a ton of places to buy online music out there with iTunes leading the pack. The thing that could make this one different though is the lack of DRM. Amazon’s store will sell actual high quality 256kbps MP3’s. There’s no DRM here folks. You’re not locked to any particular player for these songs. Just about every player out there will play an MP3 file. The big question in all of this is going to be selection. According to their press release:
“Amazon MP3 is an all-MP3, DRM-free catalog of a la carte music from major labels and independent labels, playable on any device, in high-quality audio, at low prices,” said Bill Carr, Amazon.com Vice President for Digital Music. “This new digital music service has already been through an extensive private beta, and today we’re excited to offer it to our customers as a fully functional public beta. We look forward to receiving feedback from our customers and using their input to refine the service.”
I’ve taken a glance through the site and found several songs that I’d be interested downloading… especially at 89 cents and without DRM. Amazon even provides an optional MP3 Downloader tool that looks to be just a download manager so you don’t have keep hitting save in your browser. Given the terrible experience I had with their “Unbox” movie download service, I pray that this doesn’t take the same path. If given the choice between this and iTunes, I’d happily pay less for a better (DRM FREE) product.