Yeah, I’m jumping on the bandwagon and talking about Amazon MP3, too. But, hey: it’s actually pretty big news. A real competitor to the iTunes Music Store (who, don’t get me wrong, certainly isn’t a “bad” store) that’s done by a company that—no one can deny—knows how to do high-volume sales of content online. The store apparently has roughly 2 million songs, which is impressive, but nowhere near what the iTMS currently offers. However, unlike most other competitors, the Amazon MP3 store does contain a lot of big-name and new artists, not just obscure ones.
A couple of things really set Amazon MP3 apart from the iTunes Music Store (and most, but not all other rival online music stores). First, songs are offered at a variable pricing scheme. “Top 100” songs are just 89 cents, while most others are the “standard” price of 99 cents. Yes, that’s right: they’re selling the popular songs for less, not trying to extort more money from you just because they’re popular. Albums are often significantly cheaper (starting at $4.99!) than on iTMS or what they would be buying the songs individually. In addition, songs with longer track lengths can cost more.
Second, and definitely the biggest factor in favor of Amazon MP3 right now: all of the songs are fully DRM-free. Let that sink in a minute. There’s no DRM on the songs. They’re just regular MP3s! No more “you can copy this song to X computers and play it on Y number of devices” crap. You bought the song from Amazon MP3, so you own the song and you can do with it what you want. Keep it on your mac, your PC, your iPod, and stream it to your TiVo. Or whatever. Getting the music labels to let them sell this music without DRM is going to be what makes Amazon MP3 so successful.