Amazon has just opened up their new DRM-free MP3 store, aiming squarely at the space between the iTunes Music Store's eyes. Featuring plain-old MP3s encoded at a healthy 256kbps, the store one-ups iTunes with price (tracks are $0.89 to $0.99, while iTunes' DRM-free AAC files are $1.29) and file format, as MP3s can be played by pretty much anything and AACs are restricted to certain players.
The selection, on the other hand, doesn't hold a candle to iTunes as of yet. Because it consists of only DRM-free selections, there are only albums from record labels such as EMI who don't require DRM as well as indie bands that are just psyched you want to pay for their music. In order to download the songs, you need Amazon's MP3 store software, which is sort of similar to iTunes. You can either buy songs directly through the store software or click through to it from Amazon. It's all well and good, and it works fine, but until they get more labels on board it probably won't be taking iTunes down anytime soon. But here's hoping that a big name like Amazon will motivate more labels to give up on DRM.