Amazon.com, Inc. is a well respected force in the online retail market, and so it was no surprise that it eventually entered the digital music download scene in 2007. Its digital music store, Amazon MP3, has upped the ante in the world of paid-for online music services by providing DRM-free content. Find out in this Amazon MP3 review if Amazon’s offering is an iTunes Store killer.
- Songs come as DRM-free MP3s.
- Over 4.5 million tracks.
- Good value for money.
- Service available to U.S customers only.
- Amazon MP3 downloader software must be used for multiple song purchases.
Digital Music Delivery:
Amazon MP3 operates an a la carte system enabling you to simply select the tracks you want and download them - just like the iTunes Store. If you are already an Amazon customer then you don’t need to subscribe, just login to your Amazon account to start using the service.
- $0.89-0.99 for single tracks.
- $4.99 and under to $9.00+ for albums.
The choice of music that Amazon MP3 offers is nowhere near the 6 million plus that the iTunes Store boasts, but over 4.5 million songs is still very respectable. At the time of writing, there are 22 genres of music on offer that are logically listed on the homepage of the website. Alternatively, you can use the search facility and specifically find a song, album, or artist. From the drop-down search menu, it is also possible to search within a particular genre which makes tracking down music even easier.
Previewing Songs and Albums:
Before you purchase a song or album, the Amazon MP3 store lets you play a 30-second music clip via an embedded music player. The player has several useful functions such as the usual volume control, previous/next track, and play/pause buttons. One of the most useful features of Amazon's browser-based music player is the preview all button that takes the hassle out listening to multiple songs or even an album.
The interface for purchasing music on Amazon MP3 is very similar to the other stores under Amazon.com. Although the design and layout can lead to confusion at times, the familiar orange 'buy' button is conveniently situated alongside each track or album; this makes a purchase very straightforward. Amazon MP3 also uses the '1-click' buy option that enables you to automatically use your stored credit card details to instantly buy in one step.
Amazon MP3 Downloader:
This is a small download manager that makes downloading multiple files easier to do. Once installed, the downloader software will run automatically every time you make a purchase from the Amazon MP3 store. The downside to Amazon’s software is if you want to purchase an album then you will have to install it to complete the transaction. This may put some consumers off who might find it annoying to have to install yet another piece of software on their computer.
Amazon MP3 Downloader Software:
Available for the following platforms:
- Windows XP or Vista.
- Mac OS X 10.4 or higher.
- Linux - Debian 4 Etch, Fedora 8, Open SUSE 10.3, and Unbuntu 7.10 Gutsy.
Is it Right for You?
Amazon has stepped up to the plate and delivered an excellent service that is user-friendly, and more importantly, provides downloads that are highly compatible due to the unprotected MP3 format. Prices are very keen too, with single tracks available for as little as 89 cents and some albums available for under $4.99, this makes the Amazon MP3 store excellent value for money.
The only thing that might hold you back from using their music service is if you are heavily into music discovery or want other types of media. The iTunes Store for example has significantly more music and hosts movies, videos, audiobooks, podcasts, and even games. Even with these shortcomings, Amazon MP3 is a solid service that gives the more established digital music services a serious run for their money.