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Amazon DRM-Free Music Store Goes Beta 349

LowSNR writes "Amazon this morning moved their DRM-free music store into open beta. According to the release, 'Since all our digital music downloads are DRM-free, you can play them on anything that plays mp3s including PCs, Macs(tm), iPods(tm), Zunes(tm), Zens(tm), iPhones(tm), RAZRs(tm), and BlackBerrys. Plus, our Amazon MP3 Downloader application makes it easy to add your downloads to iTunes(tm) and Windows Media Player(tm), so you can sync up your devices or burn your music to CD hassle-free.' Not to mention Linux." Of course, without DRM few of the major labels play with them.
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Amazon DRM-Free Music Store Goes Beta

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @02:59PM (#20747731)
    So if while testing I get some music for free, do I have to return it?
  • True, however ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn@nOspam.gmail.com> on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @03:00PM (#20747739) Journal

    Of course, without DRM few of the major labels play with them.
    That may be true but why not view this as a way to stick it to iTunes and other music services? Everyone on this site has been complaining about wanting an alternative way to get DRM free music so they can stop paying money to a broken, defective by design system known as DRM. Now put your money where your mouth is and rid yourself of iTunes. The music selection may not be as great but if everyone moves, you can make a difference. Not to mention this is probably the best thing to happen to unsigned artists looking to make some quick easy cash even though it may not be much.
    • Re:True, however ... (Score:5, Informative)

      by lexarius ( 560925 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @03:08PM (#20747841)
      iTunes happily offers non-DRM songs (with higher bitrate, for 30 cents extra). Problem: Labels don't want to. The only problem that record companies have with iTunes is that Apple doesn't let them set prices however they like. Apple is, as usual, a bit of a control freak here, but I think we've seen that record companies shouldn't be trusted with things like setting prices on music.
      • iTunes happily offers non-DRM songs (with higher bitrate, for 30 cents extra). Problem: Labels don't want to.
        Yeah, there's only something like 100 albums or so in the iTunes plus store. I don't understand why they'd see with Amazon as non-DRM for less money, rather than selling with Apple for more?
        • Re:True, however ... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by pushing-robot ( 1037830 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @05:54PM (#20749867)
          Control. Apple obsesses over the "user experience" and wants control over everything from pricing to marketing to bundling to the choice of album art. This frightens the labels; if iTunes already does much of the labels' work for them, they may decide to cut out the middleman entirely. The labels have been afraid of becoming obsolete for years now, so they do their best to keep the retail market as fragmented and easy to control as possible; punishing whoever sells too much (or worse, tries to think for themselves) and throwing bones to the weakest. As long as the retailers are relatively weak and afraid of losing their market to the competition, the labels can maintain control.

          The labels would probably dump online retailers and sell the music themselves, except that it would open up an antitrust can of worms. That, and it would also involve real work on their part...

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Reaperducer ( 871695 )

            This frightens the labels; if iTunes already does much of the labels' work for them, they may decide to cut out the middleman entirely. The labels have been afraid of becoming obsolete for years now

            Think of the iTunes/Starbucks/iPhone/TouchPod as the next step in this evolution.

            Apple's iTunes cut the stores and delivery middlemen out of the process.
            Starbucks started its own label and signed some pretty big names to it, cutting out the traditional big record companies.
            Then the wireless free iPhone/iPod

      • Re:True, however ... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by tfoss ( 203340 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @06:15PM (#20750017)
        What I find odd, is that of the small sample I just checked on, there are lots of songs that Amazon has DRM-free that iTMS has, but not DRM-free. Lots of small labels seem to not have their catalogs DRM-free on iTunes...I wonder why that is?

        -Ted
    • by div_2n ( 525075 )
      I'm going to get setup on it tonight. I'm already shopping for a good and cheap Linux friendly MP3 player since the wife assumed control of the one we do have that does work well on Linux.
      • by sepluv ( 641107 )

        I'm already shopping for a good and cheap Linux friendly MP3 player
        How can an MP3-player be any-OS-friendly. All the ones I've seen are compliant USB mass storage devices. What am I missing?
        • by EggyToast ( 858951 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @03:27PM (#20748131) Homepage
          I believe he means non-iPod, and a player that actually has good features. Showing up as a mass storage device is nice, but if the only thing it lets you do is simply copy files back & forth, that means that *all* of the organization is handled by the player. Thus, the interface and features are of the utmost importance. Or they need to support some music library tool that's available for Linux. Or the user has to have very basic portable music needs.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Kandenshi ( 832555 )
          Perhaps he means something that plays well with Amarok [wikipedia.org]? According to their website there are plugins [kde.org] available for various media players... And they claim to work well with "the following digital music players: iPod, iRiver iFP, Creative NOMAD, Creative Zen, MTP, Rio Karma and USB devices with VFAT (generic MP3 players) support."
          *shrug* Seems this might be what he meant.
    • by heelrod ( 124784 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @03:26PM (#20748109) Homepage
      But (tm), can (tm) we (tm) really (tm) do (tm) anything (tm) without (tm) Lawyers (tm) ? (tm)
    • Re:True, however ... (Score:5, Informative)

      by RDW ( 41497 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @03:27PM (#20748135)
      'Everyone on this site has been complaining about wanting an alternative way to get DRM free music so they can stop paying money to a broken, defective by design system known as DRM. Now put your money where your mouth is and rid yourself of iTunes.'

      Sounds good! And I just spotted an album I want at about half the UK CD/iTunes price. But then I clicked on the T&C and got:

      '5. Territorial Restrictions

      As required by our Digital Content providers, Digital Content will, unless otherwise designated, be available only to customers located in the United States.'

      Cheers. If I'm lucky it'll soon be available on this side of the pond at the usual 1 USD = 1 GBP exchange rate for 'digital content'...
      • by Doomie ( 696580 )
        Well, I tried to buy something with a Canadian credit card and it worked (here [slashdot.org]'s my original post). My guess is that they are in the business of maximizing the profits so they might not check the billing address too thoroughly. Just try getting the album - if it works, then great, you got yourself a DRM-free mp3 album! If not, well, you don't lose anything.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by haystor ( 102186 )
          Or buy a gift certificate with the credit card, then use that to buy the music using any shipping address at all.
      • by Tumbleweed ( 3706 ) * on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @05:36PM (#20749677)
        Cheers. If I'm lucky it'll soon be available on this side of the pond at the usual 1 USD = 1 GBP exchange rate for 'digital content'...

        Shipping costs, ya know. :)
    • by ScottAS ( 1108325 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @03:35PM (#20748229)
      EldavoJohn I agree with your comment regarding the fact that un-signed musicians are now able to advertise their content via Amazon.Com's Online Store however there are also many other vectors which are able to be used to promote un-signed artists, of which include Jamendo.Com; although the file format used is primarily an OGG file format, a format which multiple multimedia applications, of which include Microsoft Windows Media Player 11 and Apple iTunes are unable to process without the installation of an additional codec. Amazon.Com has become a serious consideration however it's a pity that that Online Store is only available to residents of the United States Of America, and, being a resident of the United Kingdom, I'm unable to use it. Until the Online Store is available in the United Kingdom, I will continue to perouse Jamendo.Com. http://www.jamendo.com/ [jamendo.com] - Jamendo.Com - Open Your Ears
    • Re:True, however ... (Score:5, Informative)

      by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @03:47PM (#20748419) Homepage
      There's already been DRM free music [emusic.com] for quite a while. People like to complain that the music isn't available online without DRM, but aren't willing to vote with their wallet, and stop buying music from bands and labels that require DRM to download songs. Currently I get all my music from eMusic. It doesn't have everything I want, but it does have a lot of good music. I'd rather have music for about $3-$5 an album, than have to put up with DRM'd files, or paying $15 for a single album on CD.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        As soon as they call a cease-fire in the loudness war, I'll start buying mainstream media again. Until then, I'm stuck paying twice as much for the rare releases on SACD/DVD-A/vinyl. Even then you have to be careful because sometimes you'll end up with basically a rip from a CD onto a hi-def format. And I still regularly buy CDs that were mixed pre-2000. Even a -9 dB RMS isn't horrible, as long as it's not clipped.

        Beyond that, I'll never buy a lossy format now that lossless exists. We have the bandwidth, w

  • That's fantastic news!

    Now how about non-DRM Unbox downloads?
  • " Zunes" (Score:5, Funny)

    by evwah ( 954864 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @03:02PM (#20747769)
    " Zunes"

    don't be so sure... someone would had to have actually BOUGHT one of these in order to make sure they can play mp3s.
    • by Sciros ( 986030 )
      From personal experience I can assure you that playing MP3s is most definitely part of the Zune's functionality. Unfortunately so is bricking hard drives completely during failed firmware upgrades, to the point that the recovery console is powerless to help. Yay Zune.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by oyenstikker ( 536040 )
      Plural. It would require that _two_ people bought them.
      • Plural. It would require that _two_ people bought them.

        I saw somewhere recently that the Zune is now available in white. That has the possibility of increasing market share by appealing to prospective iPod buyers, or generating sales by increasing the chances of error.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Sciros ( 986030 )
          Why not just buy the "natural" (compressed poop) color Zune and a bottle of white-out?
    • Re:" Zunes" (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @03:16PM (#20747969)
      You must have forgotten about Microsoft's Zune-only technology, PlaysForSureReallyWeAreTotallyNotKiddingThisTime (tm).
  • eMusic (Score:5, Informative)

    by poached ( 1123673 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @03:04PM (#20747787)
    eMusic has been around and has been DRM free. Their selection is probably larger than Amazon's at this point. Best part is when I import the mp3s into iTunes the songs are properly recognized and the album covers are downloaded accordingly. It looks to me that some tests at least goes on there to make sure that it is compatible with iTunes.
    • by King_TJ ( 85913 )
      Yeah... I've been meaning to check out eMusic, actually. The latest Popular Science magazine included a coupon code on an inserted "post card" type ad, saying it was good for 25 free songs on sign-up or something like that. Hard to complain about 2+ albums worth of free songs just to take a look at it, I figure.
      • Yeah... I've been meaning to check out eMusic, actually. The latest Popular Science magazine included a coupon code on an inserted "post card" type ad, saying it was good for 25 free songs on sign-up or something like that. Hard to complain about 2+ albums worth of free songs just to take a look at it, I figure.

        eMusic rocks. I usually end up using my 75 downloads by the end of the first week, plus a few off my booster pack* to finish off an album. The tracks are LAME-encoded, all VBR. Most songs I download average around 200bps.

        * Subscription downloads expire at the end of the month. You can buy "booster packs" to download more than your subscription provides (ie, to finish downloading an album), and they last for a year.

        If you want to check out what they have, just go here: http://www.emusic.com/browse/all.h [emusic.com]

    • Re:eMusic (Score:5, Informative)

      by Basilius ( 184226 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @03:11PM (#20747897)
      Also, the new eMusic Remote downloading software works on Linux. Linux support had been a bit problematical before.
      • by kebes ( 861706 )
        In comparing to the Amazon offering, note that the Amazon downloading utility doesn't work on Linux. For some reason, you need the utility to download full albums, but not individual mp3s. From the Amazon MP3 FAQ [amazon.com]:

        If you currently make purchases from Amazon on your computer system, you can make purchases from the Amazon MP3 store. The MP3 files you purchase will download directly to your computer and are compatible with any system that can read the MP3 music format. The Amazon MP3 Downloader application is r

    • Re:eMusic (Score:5, Informative)

      by garcia ( 6573 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @03:32PM (#20748203)
      eMusic has been around and has been DRM free. Their selection is probably larger than Amazon's at this point. Best part is when I import the mp3s into iTunes the songs are properly recognized and the album covers are downloaded accordingly. It looks to me that some tests at least goes on there to make sure that it is compatible with iTunes.

      Worst part is that they require a subscription and you can't buy a single track like you apparently can with Amazon without paying for the month. You are correct that their library is limited and while, for now, it seems you must download some sort of application to do mass downloading from Amazon, you can purchase single tracks without it.

      I really don't care for eMusic adding a tagline to your user agent when surfing. I really don't need people knowing which music service I use:

      (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.8.1.1) Gecko/20061204 Firefox/2.0.0.1 eMusic DLM/4.0a5_1.0b1"
      • Re:eMusic (Score:5, Informative)

        by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @03:55PM (#20748519) Homepage
        But the advantage is that you can get 30 tracks for $10. If you don't want to spend $10, or download 30 tracks a month, then eMusic may not be for you. But even if you only download 11 tracks for the $10, you still save over the $0.99 music stores like iTunes. I think this is due to the fact that their credit card transaction costs would be too high if you only bought 1 or 2 songs a month. I find that eMusic works well as an addition to the music you usually buy on CD. Because a subscription can be had for as little as $10, it isn't going to break your budget, and you still have money left over to buy music from elsewhere.
        • by garcia ( 6573 )
          Because a subscription can be had for as little as $10, it isn't going to break your budget, and you still have money left over to buy music from elsewhere.

          But, unless you do a lot of hunting, you're always going to be left with only enough money for single tracks here and there. When you're a strict album purchaser like I am, you get screwed with this type of service. You also have to cancel the service if you don't want it any longer which is an added hassle that you don't have with iTunes and Amazon :(
      • Worst part is that they require a subscription and you can't buy a single track like you apparently can with Amazon without paying for the month.

        Actually, I believe you can buy single tracks now. The subscription service is cheaper though.
    • Best part is when I import the mp3s into iTunes the songs are properly recognized and the album covers are downloaded accordingly.

      You should actually read about something before making a comment like that; several reviews pointed out (and I can confirm, having tried it with both a single track and a full album) that Amazon includes the album art with the tracks, and their downloader app will automatically import your new tracks into iTunes.

      Plus, unlike eMusic, I don't have to subscribe to a separate

    • Re:eMusic (Score:4, Informative)

      by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @06:38PM (#20750223) Journal

      Their selection is probably larger than Amazon's at this point.

      "Larger" only in the most literal sense. eMusic is doesn't have major label support at all, unlike Amazon. If there's a current artist on eMusic, it's only a few quite old, unpopular, out-of-print albums.

      Quick searches for the top artists from Amazon's MP3 service on eMusic turns up crap.

      No albums from NIN, Pink Floyd, Kayne West, etc.
      One 12+ year-old Radiohead album.

      eMusic at best has a couple individual songs via "compilation" albums, but that's about it. Amazon is just a "beta" and it's already got ALL the albums from all these major groups.
  • Major Labels? (Score:5, Informative)

    by fishybell ( 516991 ) <{moc.liamtoh} {ta} {llebyhsif}> on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @03:05PM (#20747803) Homepage Journal
    Well let's see...Spoon? check. Apples in Stereo? check. Radiohead, Bowie, Beach Boys? check, check, check. Pink Floyd, Hendrix, Nirvana? all check.


    Hmm...maybe something harder...Neutral Milk Hotel? check. Danielle Dax? aww...so sad, not check. Mongol 800? no...too bad.

    It seems just about everything that I listen to that is available somewhere is available here, so what am I missing? Even better though, if it's not available as an MP3 Amazon redirects me to a cd or vinyl copy. iTunes, etc. don't do that.

    • Beatles? Fail.
      Led Zeppelin? Fail.

      Wait, iTunes doesn't have those either, even under DRM. Hmm...
      • by Plekto ( 1018050 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @03:16PM (#20747979)
        Of course, without DRM few of the major labels play with them.
        ****
        The reality is that 90% of the stuff out there isn't on BMG or one of the few big labels anymore. In any case, it blows a big hole in ITunes. No DRM, cheaper, and a pretty large catalog. I know of several smaller labels that are going to almost certainly stop selling on ITunes as a result.

        All Itunes can do at this point is damage control. It's the old Apple proprietary mentality at work again. And Apple getting burnt again by the cheaper and more open alternatives.

        Oh - the bitrate appears to be 256K. Another plus - it's actually fairly decent quality.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Apple had DRM-free music available first, albeit at a higher price and with a better codec. Of course, I don't think they really care about owning the digital download market as long as everyone is DRM-free, but they're in a good position to compete.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Onan ( 25162 )

          All Itunes can do at this point is damage control.

          Wait, what damage are they controlling? Apple has always been clear about the fact that the itunes music store only breaks even, and that they don't feel that attempting to lock users into their service is a good idea.

          So I'm not really seeing how this hurts Apple. Apple isn't especially invested in people buying songs through itunes (on which they make no money); Apple is interested in people buying ipods (on which they do make money), and sometimes th

    • It seems just about everything that I listen to that is available somewhere is available here, so what am I missing?

      Linux compatiblilty..

      "Plus, our Amazon MP3 Downloader application"

      It looks like you will need Windows or maybe an Apple to purchase the songs. Why the downloader? Probably to watermark the files with your user information.
      • Re:Major Labels? (Score:5, Informative)

        by fishybell ( 516991 ) <{moc.liamtoh} {ta} {llebyhsif}> on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @03:30PM (#20748177) Homepage Journal
        The downloader appears to only be necessary to download entire albums, not individual songs. If you click "Buy MP3 Album" you get the download or cancel purchase page. If you click "Buy MP3" you get a page that recommends you download the downloader (to download the song), but you can click "Skip Installation" and download the file directly.
      • I think it's only a recommended download because IE and Safari will play the MP3 in the browser rather than download it. The app probably just makes it easier for non-technical people to download the file.
  • by bigtangringo ( 800328 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @03:05PM (#20747805) Homepage
    I'd be all over that, but as it is, their competition is fierce.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by fishybell ( 516991 )
      Well, I don't know what you think a fair price should be. Do a search for "50 cent" and you'll see that the prices vary slightly, but are overall pretty good. Either 89 cents or 99 cents per song, albums weigh in at $5.99, $8.99, and $9.99. All of these prices trump are on par with the competition or slightly better. Don't forget a major competition piece: the $16.95 brick and mortar cd price.
      • I'm referring to competition from the likes of AllOfMP3, MP3 Sugar, etc.

        I've spent far more with these folks that I ever have on traditional avenues. I'd be willing to pay $0.10 a song, whereas I pay about $0.02 right now.

        Personally, I think they'd sell a hell of a lot more product for a far greater overall profit if they significantly dropped prices.
      • Do a search for "50 cent" and you'll see that the prices vary slightly, but are overall pretty good.

        I did a search for "50 cent" and all I got back was a bunch of hip-hop! Wtf?

  • Decent Selection (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Scootin159 ( 557129 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @03:06PM (#20747821) Homepage
    Maybe I'm not 'mainstream' in what I listen to, but I just checked, and the first 6 albums I could think of were all available there. I really hope this will take off, and then the 'major' music labels will soon feel the threat if they don't offer DRM-free.
  • 256k mp3s (Score:5, Informative)

    by CottonThePirate ( 769463 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @03:08PM (#20747849) Homepage
    Something that no one has mentioned so far is that these mp3s are 256k bitrate (at least the few I checked). I'm not an audiophile with tubes or anything, but I do think that straight mp3 at 128 sounds off. I for one welcome our new DRM-free music overlords.
    • Re:256k mp3s (Score:5, Informative)

      by Volanin ( 935080 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @03:24PM (#20748095)
      You are right.
      From Amazon's MP3 FAQ [amazon.com]:

      "Bit Rate: Where possible, we encode our MP3 files using variable bitrates for maximum audio quality and smaller file sizes, aiming at an average of 256 kilobits per second (kbps). Using a variable bitrate allows us to allocate a higher bitrate to the more complex sections of music files while using a smaller bitrate for the less complex sections. The average of these rates is then calculated to produce an average bit rate for the entire file that represents the overall sound quality. Some of our content is encoded using a constant bitrate of 256 kbps. This content will have the same excellent audio quality at a slightly larger file size."
      • by Shabbs ( 11692 )
        Impressive. I didn't see any details on what encoder/settings they used though. That would be nice to know, and hopefully, it's LAME. :)

        This does look very promising.
  • How does it compare? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by internic ( 453511 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @03:12PM (#20747907)

    But this is hardly the first DRM-free music download service. I've used eMusic [emusic.com] off and on for years. How does this compare and how does it improve on the other DRM-free services that already exist? In the past, the main complaint about such services was the lack of mainstream music from major labels. Won't this be the same for Amazon's offering?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Fireye ( 415617 )
      Amazon:
      Interface is a bit awkward
      Can't sort search results by column .89/song, $~8-11 per album
      Seemingly large selection of mainstream artists, along with some good Indie action.
      256kbps VBR MP3 (Some report higher bitrates)

      eMusic:
      Interface is great.
      Searches are helpful, recommend artists who are in the same category or are "like" the one you searched for.
      ~.25c/song (Not sure what current rates are, but that's what I pay). You pay for every song in the album the same as if you purchased separate, amazon ha
  • It wont work anywhere but the US, I would buy from it, but it seems their attitude towards the rest of the world seems to consist of "no, fuck off".

    Lame, and they need to fix it, but anyhow.

    • I've got to assume that has more to do with licenses and contracts than Amazon's reluctance to let you stuff money in their metaphorical pants.

      U.S. only isn't the worst thing for a beta test. Maybe contracts for other countries is something they're working on? It couldn't hurt to write them and express your interest in international support.
    • by gwait ( 179005 )
      More likely not their fault,

      It's likely that each country's own messed up laws and record industry deals that prevent them from offering this service outside the US.

      In Canada, we can't watch TV shows from the official US web sites either, probably since local Canadian TV stations bought the exclusive rights to broadcast the show
      (and put local ads in to pay for it).

    • by Doomie ( 696580 )
      I just downloaded a song using a Canadian credit card with a billing address that matched the billing address of the credit card, except for the state and zip code (I put CA and 90210, obviously :)). My guess is that they only check the name, expiry date and maybe the phone and they simply don"t care afterwards. Have fun!
  • Download Manager (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LMacG ( 118321 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @03:20PM (#20748027) Journal
    According to a response on the Washington Post blog post about this, the download manager is required for album downloads, although not for single tracks. And ... "In addition, the download manager only works on XP, Vista, and Mac OS X 10.4 (or higher)." Unfortunately, I can't get to the Amazon site to check right now.
    • Other restrictions (Score:3, Informative)

      by pavon ( 30274 )
      One other thing to note is that their terms of service [amazon.com] explicitly state that you are only receiving a license, and there are restrictions on what is allowed by that license. For the most part you can do anything that would be considered fair use, but there are a few exceptions. For example you may not resell the files, or "modify or edit them" even for personal use.

      So you don't have quite as many "rights" as you would buying a CD, but at least they are trusting their customers to follow the law rather than
    • Re:Download Manager (Score:4, Informative)

      by Guttata ( 35478 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @06:24PM (#20750083)
      I use Linux almost exclusively, and I checked it out. Initially I feared that to buy a whole album, I'd either have to wait for a Linux version of the download manager, or I would have to pay extra by downloading tracks individually. Luckily, it appears that the download manager works fine under Wine (although it tries to launch iTunes after the download, and that fails somewhat gracefully). I end up with my music in a directory under ~/Amazon\ MP3. BTW, looking at the file with xxd, it appears the files are encoded with Lame 3.97.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mystik ( 38627 )
      Someone mentioned wine works, so I'll try that, but I used vmware to snag the albums @ the lower price.

      The utility is silly, when you buy an album you get a .amz file which appears to be a base64 blob, that directs the utility to download all the rest of the files. The utility then immeidatly deletes the .amz file and proceeds to download them in sequence.

      I dunno why they couldn't throw together a simple little java app to let other platforms download.

      But, yeay! DRM free MP3's. I can deal with this rather
  • by blind biker ( 1066130 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @03:20PM (#20748033) Journal
    I had a quick look at how much music by Sibelius I can find, and it's over 200 albums, which, I think, is eccellent.

    Nothing by the less-known composers like Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (the more talented son of J. S. Bach) but still, pretty satisfactory.

    Sh*t - and just when I decided to save up some money for next summer.
  • Top 100 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by markg11cdn ( 1087925 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @03:28PM (#20748145)
    The Top 100 tracks http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/dmusic/digital-music-track [amazon.com] are $0.89 each. I only had to go down to #17 to find one that I recognize (but wouldn't buy) - Blondie/Heart of Glass. A few steps down at #21 I found one to buy, Floyd/Comfortably Numb. All the other tracks (not top-100) on the double album are $0.99 or you can get all 26 tracks for $8.99. All 256 kbps non-drm'd files. This is how music buying should have been from day one.
  • Wine (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ShedPlant ( 1041034 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @03:30PM (#20748169) Homepage
    The Amazon MP3 Downloader installs and (seems to) run fine on Linux with wine. However, since I can't provide a USA billing address, I haven't been able to purchase an album and see if it downloads.

    Still, cool :) . I expect they'll bring this to Amazon worldwide soon.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Guttata ( 35478 )
      I am in the US, and I used the Amazon MP3 Downloader under Wine. It does indeed work just fine, with the odd peculiar function of trying to launch iTunes post-download, which fails but it does download the MP3's just fine.
  • Cross platform! (Score:3, Informative)

    by no_opinion ( 148098 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @03:35PM (#20748237)
    I've purchased from the store on both the Mac and the PC and have to say it's a breeze to use. If you buy an album they've got a download manager for both platforms. Once that's installed, it's dead simple to buy & download. Somehow I've already spent $45... Seems much better than the competition. And no, I don't work for Amazon, I'm just a fan of the legitimate MP3 store. Good job, guys!
  • For traditional music companies - I guess we can only hope. The Music distribution business was a I.T business as soon as there was technology available to deal with the music. It doesn't make much sense that the 60 Billion dollar a year music industry pushes around a 600 Billion dollar a year I.T industry with lobbying and laws that stiffle innovation in software as a by-product of them trying to hang onto their outdated business model.

    I can only hope that as bandwidth increases, peering technology gets b

  • by Gossi ( 731861 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @03:56PM (#20748547)
    Yep, it says US only, but I'm in the UK and I just purchased a song. When you are asked to confirm your billing address, put in a dummy US address. I used this:

    "
    1 Infinite Loop
    New York
    Cupertino, CA 95014
    "

    (Apple's US headquarters address - it's valid).

    When asked for your phone number, put in your full international dialing number.

    Result? It works. Raw MP3 downloads. Legal. I'm using a Mac, and it works fine with Firefox, Safari and with my iPod and on iTunes.
  • I just listened to FM radio the other weekend and couldn't believe what a mess of crap it's become. If thats the stuff that the labels want us to pay for and add DRM, they aren't going to get a dime from me. I have Sirius, but thats a different story altogether.
    I have no problem listening to Grand Funk Railroad, BTO, Alice Cooper, etc if thats the kind of stuff Amazon is serving up. I keep a huge directory of those old songs on my laptops.
    What was it that Homer Simpson said about Rock N'Roll. It was per
  • Tag this... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by creativeHavoc ( 1052138 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @04:24PM (#20748855) Homepage
    Tag this effectivebydesign maybe?
  • Watermarked? Hashed? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @05:07PM (#20749369)
    Is Amazon watermarking or hashing these, so that when they show up on Torrent sites, they can prove wrongdoing?
  • by aesiamun ( 862627 ) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @05:20PM (#20749483) Homepage Journal
    I spent an hour on the phone with Amazon because I purchased a track from them in Omniweb. After installing the downloader and purchasing the track, it said I had downloaded the file already, but I hadn't. The guy unlocked the download again and I tried with Safari and it worked fine.

    We didn't try with firefox, but omniweb is definitely not supported correctly by the downloader.

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