Amazon Launches DRM-Free Music Store

Rob Williams

Staff member
From our front-page news:
We knew this was going to happen, but I personally expected it to happen a lot sooner. Amazon has launched their DRM-Free music store, tentatively called "Amazon MP3". Creative, huh? But who cares if it's creative, because it's one step closer to DRM-Free music truly catching on. Amazon sells each song for $0.99, while iTunes sells their DRM-Free tracks for $1.29. It's not currently known whether or not Amazon embeds user information into each song, however.

If you are looking for full albums, you can sort results by price or genre, with albums beginning at under $5. At quick glance, the store seems to be missing a lot of my favorite punk bands, and if they are there, it's only one or two songs. Hopefully their collection will fill out as time passes.

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It goes without saying that Amazon is aiming squarely at Apple, and it's attempting to hit the digital music monopoly where it hurts--with regard to pricing, file quality, and versatility, all of which have come under scrutiny by critics. But this could also be a painful blow for eMusic, the online music store that has made a small name for itself by selling exclusively DRM-free music.