A new service launched by online retail giant Amazon aims to offer a digital option to music bought from the website, essentially a more liberal version of the ‘free digital copy’ DVD releases on the market, and one that will probably be warmer received than the controversy that often surrounds digital-only services such as Apple’s iTunes.
The American company have released their ‘AutoRip’ in their native market, offering free MP3 versions of all audio featured on compatible CD purchases from the website. The downloads are then naturally able to be used how the buyer sees fit, playing it back on any compatible device including smartphones and tablet computers.
Any purchase of an ‘AutoRip-enabled’ disc will instantly offer a version that can be downloaded through the Amazon Cloud service offered before the physical version has even been posted. Amazon claim that ‘thousands’ of records have become AutoRip-compatible, and that as an added incentive to customers, all past transactions involving covered CDs will be offered a free download offer for orders dating as far back as 1998.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced the plans, stating: “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?. Well, starting today, it’s available to all of our customers – past, present and future – at no cost.”
While there are no current plans to expand the service beyond America, it is an interesting initiative offered by Amazon, but will it help to revive the flagging market for physical media sales?