Mac-, iPod-, and iPhone-compatible Amazon MP3 adds DRM-free music from Warner Music Group and Warner Music Group today announced that DRM-free music audio downloads from Warner Music Group are now available to customers on Amazon MP3, Amazon’s a la carte MP3 digital music store where every song and album is playable on virtually any personal digital music capable device. Beginning today, songs from WMG’s digital audio catalog will be available for purchase and download from Amazon MP3. In addition, Amazon and WMG will make available to consumers digital music products such as album bundles containing exclusive tracks.

“Our customers are delighted with our DRM-free MP3 service. We have received thousands of emails from our customers since our September launch thanking us for offering the biggest selection of high-quality MP3 audio downloads which play on virtually any music device they own today or will own in the future,” said Bill Carr, Vice President of Digital Music, in the press release. “With the addition of great Warner Music Group content, our customers will discover even more of the music they love on Amazon MP3.”

“Consumers want flexibility with respect to what they can do with music once they purchase it, and we want them to have that flexibility, which is why we’re pleased to offer our artists’ music on Amazon MP3,” said Michael Nash, Senior Vice President, Digital Strategy and Business Development for Warner Music Group, in the press release. “We believe that giving consumers the assurance that the music they purchase can be played on any device they own will only encourage more sales of music. Amazon shares our vision with respect to offering feature-rich music based digital products, and we look forward to making available an array of exciting new digital products over time that will transform the relationship between and among consumers, labels and artists.”

Launched in September 2007, Amazon MP3 offers the world’s biggest selection of a la carte DRM-free MP3 music downloads with more than 2.9 million songs from over 33,000 record labels.

Every song and album in the digital music store is available exclusively in the MP3 format without digital rights management (DRM) software. Amazon’s DRM-free MP3 format enables customers to play their music on virtually any personal digital music capable device — including Apple Macs, iPods, and iPhones — and to burn songs to CDs for these customers’ personal use.

Most songs available on Amazon MP3 are priced from 89 cents to 99 cents, with more than 1 million of the over 2.9 million songs priced at 89 cents. The top 100 best-selling songs are 89 cents, unless marked otherwise. Most albums are priced from $5.99 to $9.99. The top 100 best-selling albums are $8.99 or less, unless marked otherwise. Taxes may apply in certain jurisdictions.

Every song on Amazon MP3 is encoded at 256 kilobits per second. Buying and downloading MP3s from Amazon MP3 is easy. Customers can purchase downloads using Amazon 1-Click shopping, and, with the Amazon MP3 Downloader, seamlessly add their MP3s to their iTunes library.

More info here.

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

Only Sony seems to be the lone major holdout from Amazon’s DRM-free offerings which is pretty much par for the course. We’ve used Amazon’s music download service and it works well for Macs, iPods, and iPhones. If you want to do some comparison shopping vs. Apple’s iTunes Store, Amazon MP3 is the place. We just wish Amazon would use the superior AAC instead of the ancient MP3 format* for their DRM-free music.

We do not believe that Steve Jobs really cares if you buy tunes at Amazon or iTunes, as long as you don’t buy something encoded with Microsoft DRM and as long as you play it on Apple hardware (Macs, iPods, iPhones, Apple TV). It’d be nice if you used iTunes Store, but it’s not at all essential to Apple’s success.

* AAC (Advanced Audio Coding codec or MPEG-4 Audio) provides higher-quality results with smaller file sizes and better decoding efficiency (requiring less processing power for decode) than the old MP3 format. More info here.


  1. I think that this is a great consumer development, and I’m very impressed that Amazon executed it in a way that supported ALL formats! OSX, Windows, Linux, BeOS, Unix, etc

    A new standard is developing, and it’s OPEN for business.

  2. I’m all for it. I Bought a song from Amazon mp3 last night. It works great with the mac and instantly sinks to iTunes. I can’t wait until Sony drops their DRM that will be the official end of DRM forever.

    MS Zune still far behind.

    Buy from whoever, store on whatever, play it whenever, take it where ever. Forever.

    DRM-Free for life.

  3. Why are the labels (except EMI) not offering Apple the same deal to sell non-DRM songs? It’s because Apple wouldn’t let them f*ck over consumers with bundling and similar schemes, so they’re trying to kill iTunes. If they succeed in killing iTunes, non-DRM songs will disappear and Amazon will let them do whatever they want. Apple’s Fairplay has never really gotten in the way of what I want to do, so I’m sticking with iTunes. Any consumer who doesn’t want to hand the reins back to Bronfman and his ilk should do the same.

  4. Let’s not forget that the labels (except EMI) are deliberately denying iTunes access to DRM-free music. Vivendi offers DRM-free music to every provider except Apple. No doubt Warner is doing the same.

    I believe in competition and am glad that Amazon is here. But let’s not forget that this isn’t about ending DRM. It’s about breaking Apple’s dominance in online music by building up a competitor.

  5. Apple continues to command a respectable lead here. The problem is the labels. Their main goal here is to choke Apple’s iTunes to death. They are cutting their nose to spite their face by bending over backwards for Amazon. There is no reason why Warner Music wouldn’t be able (or willing) to make the same deal with Apple. After all, it was Apple that was already offering this kind of deal anyway.

    Here’s the deal; in order to seriously undermine iTunes, Amazon will have to offer more tracks than iTunes, make it easier than in iTunes to purchase songs and move them to iPod, and make all that cheaper than iTunes. Untile ALL THREE of these happen, iTunes will continue to dominate.

    It is very easy to underestimate the consumers’ appreciation for one-stop-shop convenience. While I must admit Amazon had made it a rather slick and smooth process (at least on Windows) to purchase songs and move them to iTunes, still, the process requires surfing to Amazon and finding your way through to the song/album you’re looking for, buying it, which then launches that little Amazon applet that downloads it for you and dumps it into iTunes. With three distinct applications doing the song-and-dance routine here, there is eight times more chance something could go wrong.

    The future of Amazon’s digital downloads will depend on the vindictiveness of the record labels against iTunes. The future of iTunes store will depend on Apple’s success in building a video rental business around it.

  6. “Pretty soon Amazon could be the new #1 in digital music downloads.”

    Not until their download store ceases to be a convoluted mess of pricing and versions. I tried it, and while its OK, its just, well, OK. Not great.

    Also has anyone bothered to read the EULA?
    I wonder what sort of land mines are hidden within.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.