Amazon's MP3 store went live yesterday (well, it opened its doors as a public beta) on the US Amazon site. At a quick glance it is an impressive offering for a Beta:
On the downside for the Amazon store:
This last point is obviously a major stickler for those of us over here in Europe but I found that Amazon doesn't enforce this too strictly. Or not yet at least. I discovered that if you have a US address among your shipping addresses you are allowed to purchase a song, even if your billing address is outside of the US. How long this will be allowed remains to be seen but I, with a US shipping address among my registered addresses and a European billing address, had no problems purchasing an MP3. With the current strong Euro against the dollar these downloads represent a fair price to European-based music fans.
With Amazon's announcement, copy protected MP3s are clearly on the way out. Here is one area where Apple is not leading marketplace innovation. But more worrying to Apple must be the fact that the Amazon MP3 store - with its considerable reach to mainstream consumers - represents the most serious competition yet to iTunes.
1999 - 'The eMusic Market', written by Gordon McConnell it focuses on how the internet could change the music industry. Boy was he on the money, years before any of us had heard of an iPod or of Napster.