I should preface effusiveness by saying that there are plenty of things not to like about Amazon’s new digital music store, Amazon MP3. As Om Malik points out, the interface is really not that great, though the downloader application is virtually transparent once you’ve downloaded it. I was also seriously disappointed at not being able to find a lot of the songs I wanted to download. Music that may not be recent, but is relatively mainstream. Bummer.
Wow. Overall I love Amazon MP3. After running through set-up and trying my free download (a song called “Energy” by The Apples), I found and purchased a song by Mike Doughty of former Soul Coughing fame. A click of the mouse and “I Hear the Bells” downloaded to my laptop and transferred automatically into iTunes. Nice touch.
Once I had the song safely on my laptop (for a mere 89 cents) I walked over to my Squeezebox remote. It’s been a long time since I’ve streamed anything from my computer to my Squeezebox since mostly I just listen to Internet stations and podcasts. But that’s because most of my downloaded music is sadly DRM-protected by Apple and can’t be heard through the Squeezebox. Different story with my new Amazon download. A couple of clicks with my remote and my newly purchased song was blasting through my living room speakers. Glorious.
Yes, yes, I know you can get DRM-free music from iTunes, but there’s something great about going to an online store where you know everything available is music that can be moved around to any device. And it’s a bit shocking to pay only 89 cents for some tracks. Dangerous. I see possible addiction ahead.
I can’t wait until Amazon adds more music to its DRM-free catalog. Maybe, just maybe we have an actual iTunes competitor now.
Two more tidbits from my experience: First, if you search on an album, Amazon will show you a list of all the songs on that album with links next to the ones that are available for download. Second, I went over to Pandora to check out my bookmarked songs and decide what I might want to purchase. Pandora includes a link to iTunes and a link to Amazon next to each bookmarked track, but I found that the Amazon link goes to Amazon’s CD store. I’m guessing Pandora will add a link soon to Amazon MP3 – one more way to make downloading even easier.