Yesterday Amazon announced it would open a digital music store sometime later in the year. This was a move that analysts had been expecting, but the exciting aspect of the company's announcement was that the songs sold from Amazon's music store will be free of any digital rights management, or copy protection. Additionally, they'll be distributed in MP3 format so that they'll play with ease on most music players, including the iPod.
Details about the store were hazy, but a potentially exciting difference between the iTunes store and Amazon's is that Amazon will probably have a variable pricing scheme. Will the store be an iTunes killer? The critical consensus seems to be no. But many seem to think that Amazon's store could be an important step in getting rid of DRM protections in digital music files once and for all. For more detailed opinions, follow the link.
"The crumbling of content protection is looking more like the long, slow decline of the Roman Empire than the abrupt collapse of Communism." Businessweek.com,
"Anything that helps facilitate over-the-counter music trafficking is good news for those of us tired of the battle between freeloaders and The Man." — Tony Sachs and Sal Nunziato,, The Huffington Post,
"It is unclear whether typical consumers even think about the kind of problems the Amazon service is trying to address. That's because Apple's tightly integrated iTunes Store and iPod so thoroughly dominate their respective markets that most people may not even be aware that there are restrictions on what they can do with their downloads." The Wall Street Journal,
"Asked how Amazon plans to compete with Apple's market-leading iTunes store, [Amazon vice president Bill] Carr said the Web merchant has a huge customer base, with 66 million active accounts. He also touted the success of its CD store, which in the United States alone offers some 1 million titles." AP,
"Let's just hope Amazon has the balls to take it up a notch. Or rather, down a notch. 99 cents. Come on, guys, make yourselves a real competitor against iTunes and kick-start the market. The sooner we get this going, the better for all of us: consumers, distributors, the industry, and the artists." Gizmodo,
"'Amazon.com has a huge customer base, huge traffic and they've got a sterling reputation for providing customer satisfaction, and I think that's one of the reasons why they waited,' Phil Leigh, an analyst for Inside Digital Media, told MacNewsWorld. 'They did not want to sell DRM music that was going to create some bad customer experiences.' " Mac News World,
"IDC analyst Susan Kevorkian said she thinks Amazon.com could push the digital music market forward by pressuring more major music labels to sell DRM-free music. 'We think Amazon's position in the market could be influential enough to move some if not all of the remaining majors toward offering MP3-encoded, DRM-free downloads,' Kevorkian said." Seattle Post-Intelligencer,
"Sweet!! I just nuked my Crapster subscription cause I got sick of it losing tracks, telling me I don't have rights to my files, and effing me over w/ DRM bullshit in general. Guess I know where I'm buying my music from now on." Digg comments,
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