01 October 2007

Amazon MP3 downloads

Today's top two MP3 artists on Amazon MP3 are Richard Wagner and Pink Floyd. I find this odd considering that the audiences for these two artists i.e. the classical lot and the prog lot are probably the most demanding when it comes to audio quality.

After it went public beta last week I have to admit I'm very impressed with Amazon's offering; comparing its service to a few others:

StandardPlus WMAMP3
Quality 128kbps256kbps?128kbps256kbps256kbps
DRM YesNoYesYesNoNo
Feist - The Reminder

I'm not sure how many people consider things like quality and DRM when downloading music but one thing they will consider is price and Amazon is the clear leader here. Especially seeing as the album I chose for the comparison is one of the more expensive ones; you can download the whole of Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here for $4.45, that's £2.20!

The fact that Amazon offer DRM-free MP3s means that they will play on pretty much anything. In addition to computers and portable music players, these days you'd be hard pushed to find a CD or DVD player that doesn't play MP3s. The AAC and WMA offerings of the competitors very much limit your choice of player; for example AAC work on iPods, WMA work on Creative Zens but not vice versa. MP3s, however, will work on both.

Amazon already has a massive share of the music retail market so its existing customers are more likely to download from them than go with one of the alternatives. Although they don't offer this yet, something that would seal up the Christmas market would be a "Buy an MP3 player preloaded with albums of your choice" service.

It all seems to stack up in Amazon's favour, I'd wager iTunes are going to see their market share slipping away in the coming months.

1 comment:

Rob Smith said...

I guess if anyone can challenge Apple's dominance in MP3 sales it's Amazon. As someone who has avoided buying music on iTunes due to the feeling of not actually buying it but rather renting it from Apple the Amazon offering seems much more tempting!