Amazon is looking to incentivize physical music sales by providing digital copies automatically and free of charge with each purchase. They're also hoping that they can keep customers using their Cloud Player. Oh yeah, and it's retroactive.
We're talking about Amazon "AutoRip," a new service that gives customers MP3 versions of any CDs they purchase on Amazon. When a customer purchased a CD that's AutoRip eligible, Amazon throws the corresponding MP3s onto their Cloud Player library. It all takes place automatically and for free.
And Amazon says that AutoRip is retroactive. If you're purchased an AutoRip CD any time between now and 1998, you can expect MP3 version of those CDs to be waiting for you in your Cloud Player library.
“What would you say if you bought music CDs from a company 15 years ago, and then 15 years later that company licensed the rights from the record companies to give you the MP3 versions of those CDs… and then to top it off, did that for you automatically and for free?” said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. “Well, starting today, it's available to all of our customers – past, present, and future – at no cost. We love these opportunities to do something unexpected for our customers.”
Every AutoRip MP3 is stored in your Cloud Player library but doesn't count against the storage limits. The AutoRip MP3s will be rendered in 256 Kbps.
"AutoRip is available for industry-wide top-sellers like '21' by Adele; new and recent releases like '¡Uno!', '¡Dos!' and '¡Tre!' by Green Day, 'Overexposed' by Maroon 5, and 'The Truth About Love' by P!nk; classics like 'Dark Side of the Moon' by Pink Floyd and 'Thriller' by Michael Jackson; and Amazon customer favorites like 'I Dreamed A Dream' by Susan Boyle, which was the most pre-ordered album of all time on Amazon," they say.
AutoRip is currently available on 50,000+ albums. If you want to know if a CD is AutoRip compatible before you buy, just look for the AutoRip logo on the page.
Sure, it's not a huge breakthrough - and CD sales will continue to decline even if digital copies are part of the deal. But by putting users' MP3s in Amazon's Cloud Player automatically, the company is increasing the chances that users will stick to Amazon for their streaming desires (and forgo iTunes or Google Play).