Amazon Taking On iTunes

    March 26, 2008

Amazon’s MP3 store is closing in on Apple’s iTunes even though it only launched around six months ago.

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(Photo Credit: Amazo)

Launched in September the online music store is now second in the U.S. only to iTunes and is the highest-ranked store to offer all its tracks without digital rights management (DRM). The success is credited to the absence of copy protection, which allows the songs to be played on almost any operating system or portable device.

Amazon carries 4.5 million songs compared to iTunes 6 million. Amazon is also the only company to strike deals with all four major record labels for DRM-free music. iTunes offered DRM-free tracks first in spring of 2007 but is limited to 2 million songs from EMI along with a number of independents.

Amazon’s entry into DRM-free music helped lower prices, which sold some songs for 89 cents compared to $1.29 iTunes charged for DRM-free tracks.

"The music consumer holds all the cards, and they have a list of complaints. They want iTunes to be 100% DRM-free," Eric Garland, CEO of BigChampagne told USA Today.
"They want unlimited selection and to have more of a social component to their songs. Having one label without DRM (at iTunes) isn’t enough to make an impact."