By: Spacelab Research Staff
Now the deal has been sealed. Amazon announced on Thursday that it's adding the entire Sony BMG catalog to the Amazon MP3 store, clearing the way for it to become the world's largest online MP3 retailer.
With Sony BMG added to the mix, Amazon becomes the first online retailer to offer DRM-free songs from all of the four big heavies in MP3 format. Since its launch last year, Amazon MP3 has grown to include 3.1 million songs from more than 270,000 artists.
They also work on practically any music playing device you might own: PC, Mac, iPod, Zune, Zen, iPhone, RAZR and BlackBerry, any MP3 player or CD player that plays MP3 CDs.
Since the songs are available in MP3 format, they are DRM free, or digital rights management free. You can put the music on as many players as you want, burn as many CDs as you want, give the track to as many friends as you want. It's up to you.
"Our Amazon MP3 customers will be able to choose from a full selection of DRM-free music downloads from all four major labels and over 33,000 independents that they can play on virtually any music-capable device," said Bill Carr, Amazon.com Vice President for Digital Music, in an ironically flat and unexciting expression to announce a move that might be a major pivot point in how we experience music from here on out.
It's widely believed that this is a move against the lock that Steve Jobs and Apple have had on the download game for a long time, and Amazon has a pretty good counterpart to iTunes. There's also a lot of talk that although the move might weaken iTunes, it won't hurt iPod sales. It will probably sell more iPods in the long run, which is what iTunes was created for. AmazonMP3 is good for one basic reason - they don't force you into choices that benefit Amazon and Amazon alone.