Amazon’s DRM-Free MP3s

August 13th, 2008 by Andrew

I’ve fended it for a long time, but I’ve finally succumbed to the pay-for-MP3-downloads monster. Today I downloaded four songs and actually paid for them. This isn’t my first foray into downloading music online. I’ve been doing it for years by questionably legal means, but I’ve never actually paid for a downloaded song before. Well, that’s not completely true, I did purchased the Nine Inch Nails album Ghosts I-IV March, but that was a whole 36 songs for $5, and it was in the lossless FLAC format. In the past I also downloaded Radiohead’s In Rainbows and most recently Nine Inch Nails’ The Slip for free. That was OK because I was supporting bands that I both like and that are doing things to change the music industry for the better.

Amazon’s purchasing process was so easy that it’s scary. First, you download the Amazon MP3 download software which handles the downloads outside of the browser and also imports your downloads into iTunes automatically. Second, you find the song you want on Amazon’s site, and click “buy MP3” and you’ll be prompted by your browser to download or open a “.amz” file which you open with your Amazon downloading software. Depending on your connection, about 10 seconds later you’ll have a shiny new 256kbps DRM-free MP3 of the song you wanted, and it’s available in iTunes right away!

Most songs are only 89 cents a pop, and albums are only $8.99. You can’t beat the price, and since I only rip CDs to my computer as soon as I get them and then quickly relegate them to storage, it’s about time for something this simple. This is a great way to buy songs one at a time, but like I’ve said before, I probably won’t stop buying CDs or complete albums altogether.


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