Why are the music cartels being so generous to Amazon vs. Apple?

“Amazon’s DRM-free prices are in line or even less than iTunes’ DRM prices. Think about that for a minute. The labels hate iTunes pricing — it’s what they constantly bitch about — yet here is Amazon with those same iTunes prices (or less!) for tracks having a distinct advantage,” Tom writes for The Small Wave.

“EMI wanted more money from Apple for singles with no DRM, but seem perfectly satisfied with Amazon’s 99 cent price for the same thing. Why? Further, Universal has repeatedly said they’d never remove DRM, yet they tossed a few hundred thousand DRM-less tracks to Amazon at only 99 cents. What gives? Why the special treatment?” Tom asks.

“In my opinion this is just a push for Amazon to get customers while the labels hope to break iTunes’ grip on the digital music world. If the store gets popular, expect the labels to raise prices and, unlike Apple, expect Amazon to have little issue with this. The labels might also rollout more tracks, but with DRM. We know Amazon’s video site is in bed with content providers (most recently NBC); they clearly have no issue with DRM. I think if Amazon were seen as a threat to balk at any of this they wouldn’t be getting this preferential treatment to begin with,” Tom writes. The music labels “just want to build a popular store with a partner who won’t argue over pricing and DRM restrictions.”

More in the full article here.

Pretty obvious, but it’s a welcome sight to have a well- and clearly-stated explanation jutting out of a sea of obtuse “Amazon’s an iTunes Killer!!!” screamers.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Jon” for the heads up.]


  1. Maybe it would benefits  if some other stores (like Amazon) took the strain of the Bandwidth.

     make hardly any money off the iTMS, and people would still buy iPod’s to put their music on, regardless of where they bought it.

  2. Amazon may be able to meet or beat the prices on iTunes, but that is only part of the puzzle, the only part Amazon, or anyone else, can compete with. The real advantage of iTunes Online Store is it’s link to the iTunes application on everyone’s PC or Mac.

    Buying content from the iTunes Online Store seamlessly and effortlessly flows right into the iTunes application on your computer, which is the ONLY place content must be if you want to put it on your iPod, iPhone or AppleTV. THAT, Amazon and any other service can’t match, making the process of getting content purchased from anywhere other than the iTunes Online Store a more complicated time consuming process.

    People are tired of time consuming complicated processes, as seen in the new interest in easy to use Macs vs. hard to use PC’s. They just want this new song they found on their iPod NOW, not in the ten minutes it will take to get it from Amazon or anyone else that isn’t iTunes. Convenience will sell the day. iTunes wins yet again.

  3. Amazon’s little downloader application has cleverly integrated its online shop with iTunes. While it does put your song into iTunes, it does NOT put it into any playlist (for example, recently purchased, or similar). At least one of the better-known p2p tools out there automates mp3 downloads by putting them into iTunes and adding them into a dedicated playlist, so that users can quickly see what they got from that particular source. I’m sure Amazon’s downloader will add this feature soon.

    In the end, this integration is quite seamless and works well. Still, it is integration between a browser, a helper application and the iTunes. It will never be the same as just iTunes, where all is in the same place (including podcasts).

    Whether this will prove to be the critical differentiator that will sustain iTunes dominance remains to be seen.

    My opinion is that price alone won’t force users to abandon iTunes. It may bring some new users from the p2p world, though, which is a noble cause in the end.

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