Amazon's MP3 Store Fails To Suck

by Chris Adamson

Perhaps having learned from the Amazon Unbox fiasco, the new Amazon MP3 Downloads Store fails to suck. Frankly, there is a lot to like here, and it might be the first viable iTunes competitor.


17 Comments

Francisco
2007-09-25 14:49:21
What is the reason that I can't buy music in the USA but can buy books and software (I live in Argentina)?
rpt
2007-09-25 15:00:45
same here - can buy cd's from amazon.com but not the same music on mp3
rpt
2007-09-25 15:04:43
should've added - am located in the uk.
Chris Adamson
2007-09-25 15:39:00
Same reason that I can't buy iTunes from Japan, Canada, or the UK, much as I'd like to (your music is so much better than ours, it's not even funny): annoying regional lock-outs required by the record companies.
Ajay
2007-09-25 15:50:34
Did Universal Music sign a deal with Apple? I'm curious because they did sign one with Amazon for this. If they only did this for Amazon, what a boon. NewsVisual did a story on this topic earlier today and made a map showing the ties between Amazon and Vivendi SA (parent company of Universal Music) http://www.newsvisual.com/newsvisual/2007/09/multiple-ties-p.html . They have some pretty close ties, so maybe some backroom deals were involved in this.
Michael
2007-09-25 16:54:12
And it makes it easier for people to switch to iPods from other player too.
umijin
2007-09-25 19:52:41
One way it does suck is by not allowing me to purchase mp3s with an APO address as a billing address.


WTH!

natsfan
2007-09-25 20:54:05
This is very cool. The lack of customer comments is the only draw back so far. I am sure that will change quickly. Amazon's userbase is one of its great strengths.


daddydoodaa
2007-09-26 08:26:53
It's only ok.


The no DRM thing is great. The mp3 thing is ok. The selection hasn't looked that great to me. Maybe it's my taste, but for the most part I haven't had trouble finding things on iTunes.


The whole "in your web browser" blows. The navigation is annoying and cumbersome. iTunes is MUCH easier.Plus, iTunes has browser mode. The separate downloader app; annoying kludge.


I'll stick with the one stop iTunes, but this should make iTunes even better.

Fernando Cassia
2007-09-27 01:34:02
Dear Chris:


You say: "Not that Apple should be concerned, I think, but more on that in a minute."


Why is it that everyone who uses a Mac is VERY CAREFUL not to upset anyone at the Church of Cupertino er, I mean, Apple inc?. Every article about a non-Apple product is often preceeded with the words to the effect of "it's still no comparison to {insert Apple procuct here}".


It certainly helps promote that ugly image most people have of Mac users:


Are Mac users smug and arrogant?
http://blogs.zdnet.com/Apple/?p=806


Second, your statement "That means Linux users will have to pay more to download each track individually, but then again, they’ve been largely cut out of music downloads thusfar, so it’s still a win for them."


Gee, Linux users outnumber OS-X users, it's just that it's impossible to keep track of all the Linux installations, as those are not reported to any central database. I own 4 PCs at home. All four have Linux installed. All four originally came with a version of Windows or another. According to the manufacturer/Microsoft stats, those are 4 PCs which run Windows. None of them run Windows anymore.


Luckily, that is changing as more and more companies preload Ubuntu or othe flavour of Linux:


Lenovo preloads SUSE Desktop 10 on Thinkpad
http://www.calibre.ie/blog/?p=122


Dell preloads Ubuntu
http://www.dell.com/content/topics/segtopic.aspx/ubuntu?c=us&cs=19&l=en&


Acer Aspire features Ubuntu pre-installed
http://www.slashgear.com/acer-aspire-5710z-features-ubuntu-preinstalled-316525.php


Aug, 29: HP releases its first mass-market Linux PC with Ubuntu
http://www.desktoplinux.com/news/NS2655594862.html


Number of vendors shipping systems preloaded with Linux: 4
Number of vendors shipping OSX preloaded: 1


Finally, you're wrong, according to ARSTechnica a Linux version of Amazon.com's software is coming: "Amazon has also announced that a Linux version will be available soon"
http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070925-amazon-launches-public-beta-of-mp3-music-store.html


To Francisco: I've succesfully purchased from the Amazon.com store using my international Mastercard credit card, issued by a local bank in .AR. The only trick was using my US based "billing address". Google around and you'll find companies offering you your own US mailing address. Then create a new amazon.com account with that address as billing and shipping address, and buy something (could well be a $9 book). Bingo, you now have a US account.


Look at my review (as a Linux user) of Amazon.com's service over here.


Regards,
FC

Chris Adamson
2007-09-27 03:46:12

Fernando writes:

You say: "Not that Apple should be concerned, I think, but more on that in a minute."


Why is it that everyone who uses a Mac is VERY CAREFUL not to upset anyone at the Church of Cupertino er, I mean, Apple inc?. Every article about a non-Apple product is often preceeded with the words to the effect of "it's still no comparison to {insert Apple procuct here}".


It certainly helps promote that ugly image most people have of Mac users:


Are Mac users smug and arrogant?
http://blogs.zdnet.com/Apple/?p=806


Dude, I may be smug and arrogant, but I guess you haven't been reading the blogs where I "upset the Church of Cupertino" by writing things like "Kill .Mac. It's overpriced, it sucks, and it makes iLife suck" on a regular basis. Spare the ad hominem attacks if you don't even have anything to back them up.

I brought up Linux out of concerns that this service seemed to have an OS-based pricing disparity, and I thought that was unfair. I'm trying to be nice. Amazing that you can overlook that. You "freetards", as Fake Steve calls you, really need to get the chip off your shoulder if you want to get relevant in the end-user space one of these years.

Thanks for the pointer to the Linux downloader being "in the works" and to your review. I think you're crazy to demand tracks in Ogg -- that's just not a format that enough devices play to be relevant (and MP3-playing phones and small devices wildly outnumber desktop Linux installs) -- but you are of course entitled to your opinion.

Jamie
2007-09-27 04:23:17
Variable pricing (some tracks a lot more expensive than the 89-99c) just leaves a nasty taste. This is what Universal and the other labels want- the ability to maintain their cartel on pricing.
The Apple "99c for this standard, 1.29 for that" model means that the value of the art is in the ear of the listener, not the record company or the sales-channel. That's the way it should be- the labels dont have a problem with largely standardised pricing of royalties from radio playcounts, after all.


If I could buy from Amazon, I would- I believe that iTunes needs competition to keep it on its toes- but at the same time, I wouldn't be paying more than what I'd pay for the same or similar product via iTunes.


Me? I still don't trust the Big 4 labels (never did), and this sly move by Universal hasn't convinced me that they've 'seen the light' of DRM-free music.

martin
2007-09-27 17:12:36
The only location validation that Amazon does is against your billing address. I changed my billing address to a fictitious location in 901210 CA (hey, I know its a valid postcode !!), bought some music, changed the billing address back to my real Australian one and bought a book.


I didn't change any shipping address (currently, all australian) or the credit card (issued on an Australian bank).

Gervasio
2007-09-27 18:57:22
I live in Ecuador, and created an account with a fake address (in the USA). so far is working ok. I don't undersand the record labels, why i have to lie in order to buy legal music?. I think that is the reason most people download illegal copies instead of paying for the music they want. It's good to have more options when you want to buy music online, but Amazon has to work really hard to improve theire catalog because right now it seems they only have "a tribute to some artists" but only a handful of known artist.
Tom
2007-10-07 13:06:01
Im an Ubuntu user in Mexico. Im subscribed to emusic but have downloaded individual tracks from amazon. I don't like to have to download complete albums, but some songs are not available if you don't purchase the full album. That sucks because most of the time there are a lot of fillers and the price is sometimes high for a lossy format. I'd like the booklet in pdf.
Kelly
2007-12-22 16:56:11
My Christmas wish: Boycott Amazon. I spent the last four months taking care of everyone for Christmas and was happy to do it. I didn't expect anything. My DH came home with a gift card from work and told me to pick anything I wanted. Unfortunately, I picked something from Amazon.com. They promised it would ship by Christmas. They charged the gift card but didn't ship the product. They didn't notify us til 3 days before Christmas. When we called them, first Deanne didn't have any record of the transcation, even though our bank verified that THEY TOOK THE MONEY! Then her moron supervisor NATHAN promised he would send the credit back with an e-mail confirming. NO BIG SURPRISE THAT NEVER HAPPENED. SO PLEASE GRANT ME ONE CHRISTMAS WISH: BOYCOTT AMAZON.COM INDEFINATELY!!!!!!!!!!
fergfefg
2007-12-29 23:04:06
.ogg for the win