Amazon offers free digital versions of purchased CDs

“ Inc, taking aim at Apple’s dominant iTunes store, on Thursday unveiled a service that it hopes will boost digital music sales and encourage more people to use its Cloud music service,” Alistair Barr reports for Reuters.

“Amazon launched Amazon AutoRip, which gives customers free digital versions of music CDs they purchase from the world’s largest Internet retailer,” Barr reports. “The digital music files are automatically stored in customer libraries in remote datacenters run by Amazon, where they are available to play or download immediately through the company’s Cloud Player service, the company said.”

Barr reports, “Amazon’s MP3 digital music business has been around since 2007, but its market share is less than 15 percent, according to The NPD Group. Apple Inc’s iTunes store is the clear leader, with over 50 percent of the market.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: What’s a CD?


    1. CDs are also a frequently vastly cheaper way to own music. For the usurious price of two or three iTunes songs, it is often possible to buy a good used CD. I’ve bought some for as little as a penny plus $3 shipping. Multiply the price advantage over hundreds of titles, and the cost of a large music collection plummets. And if you can’t stand to have a tangible asset, liner notes and a durable backup to your hard drive data, you can donate your CDs to a thrift shop and still brag about not owning that “obsolete” technology.

  1. While CD quality is not the best, MP3 is crap — even high bit rate MP3 can be distinguished from CD quality on a decent audio system. Therefore, I’m not interested. Period.

    When downloads are CD quality (even be lossless compressed CD quality) then I’m in. Until then downloads are not an option or me — even if they are free!

    1. “…on a decent audio system..”

      And therein lies a fault in your argument. What I’m sure you are referring to is a system that encompasses at least 1-2 seperate components. Those components are connected to 2-4 speakers. And they all intended to sit on a shelf in your home None of those components are likely found in K-Mart or Walmart. The subject of this article isn’t about that category of product nor is the article produced by ‘Stereophile’ magazine.

    2. And your reasoning is exactly why Amazon’s move is entirely a PR move and will have zero effect on sales. If you want a CD for higher audio quality, you don’t want Amazon’s crappy MP3s. Plus, you would just rip your CD instead of wanting to download an MP3.

      Those who just want digital audio files and don’t want CDs won’t care about the service.


    I buy and rip audio CDs because I want my music in Apple Lossless Format, not in a lossy mid-quality format; because I have high quality audio equipment and the difference is clear as day.

    When Apple starts selling high quality audio on the iTunes Store I’ll buy from there, in a flash, but at the moment I will not.

    I buy a lot of music, sometimes spend hundreds of dollars a month with Amazon on CDs. I am sure I am not alone.

    Don’t care about Amazon’s efforts here, but I do use Apple Cloud Match service for streaming to my iOS devices.

    1. I hear ya, but just for spits and wiggles, give this ‘Mastered for iTunes’ EP a try and see what you think (it’s $5) or at least one song (I recommend ‘Quarter Chicken Dark’).

      I rip CDs either Lossless or AIFF myself, and I am enjoying stuff from HDTracks (just got ‘Friday NIght in San Francisco’ today) but there is something to the way music is mixed before being compressed that can improve the quality.

      I have Coltrane’s ‘Love Supreme’ from iTunes and it sounds remarkably good up against my 24/96 copy of ‘Night Train’.

  3. I feel so depressed…. try as I may, a recording at 256Kb recording sounds exactly like a lossless one. I have quite an expensive HiFi (EPOS speakers signed by Robbin Marshall himself, Dennon Amp about $1.2K, all kinds of sound isolation techniques to limit sound coupling into the room structure, crazy expensive speaker wire doubled just to make sure, ) but I cant tell the difference. Not CRAAAAZY expensive, but quite expensive.

    People keep saying the difference is night and day……but all I see is day and day.

    What to do…?

      1. I have a Denon AVR 989.

        It has a direct Digital input. So it is connected direct from Apple TV’s HDMI port.

        For MUSIC (as opposed to movies) I set the AVR 989 to play STEREO (i.e. NOT 5:1).

        I also set it to play DIRECT…i.e all base and treble controls bypassed. So it’s just the Digital input, the amps’ DAC and Amplification in the path before it hits the speaker inputs.

        This “setup” I am told gives the best HiFI sound. I tend to agree with that (after having switched to other settings and been able to tell the difference).

        But I cannot tell diff between 256 and LOSSLESS versions of the same track. Tried all kinds of music, classical and rock.

        It’s not that I am unhappy with the sound, I actually thought I had a real good sound. But, if it’s supposed to be night and day, that makes me depressed.

        1. I’m no expert on this but I am assuming you are streaming both types of files through your AppleTV. Here are some things to consider-

          Your AVR (which is a nice model) might not have the best DAC, even though it is 24/192. One way to tell is to play a CD though your DVD and the same album through your AppleTV.
          They should sound about the same.

          One thing to try (if you like this sort of thing) is to also use an optical cable from your Apple TV to your AVR and see if the music sounds better and if differences between the two file types are more discernible that way.

          Here is another point to consider; your DAC may be excellent and upconverts your 256k to sound great (this is what my Peachtree Audio Nova does, even streamed music sounds almost as good as my LossLess server attached via USB to it).

          Now, here is my opinion; the AppleTV is not good for audio and your LossLess actually sounds worse than it should. The reason I say this is because I wanted to sell my Mini that I use for a server and just stream with an AppleTV as you do. I hooked both up to my amp to A/B them. I have iTunes EQ my music because the Nova has no EQ, but even with that turned off from my library, the Mini via USB blew the AppleTV via optical away. Bummed me out a little because I was wanting to simplify my system but I am glad I figured it out.

          Now because your AVR is so different from my integrated amp (but the same price!) that setup might not make a difference on yours. I can stream music from my iMac to my Mini and it sounds good, but it didn’t when I streamed it through the AppleTV. That’s nothing against the AppleTV, if it sounds good to you, then don’t worry. Enjoy it every chance you get. I have bought the original TV, a 720p TV2 hooked to my grandkids TV, and 3 TV2 1080p for my kids and they are great, just not for my situation.

          Good luck!

      1. Yeah – with some of the bands around these days having tinnitus is preferable!

        Oh crap – I’m starting to sound like my dad. Knew it would happen one day, must have early onset something or other.

    1. Anal retentive more like. Hi-Fi folks aren’t that pompous just evangelical about sound fidelity (even if others can’t tell the difference or couldn’t give a fig if they can).

  4. Yeah well my source tells me u can have whatever leading up to the speaker but the speaker itself has to be able to put it out…

    Try finding a store with b&w speakers and ask them to play each sample – better yet if you eant see if they will use the rest of your stuff to push to the b&w speakers… Think you’ll hear it then

    But you might have some undiagnosed hearing issue or… You might not be able to hear it…

    If you were in Canada up north you might give me a reason to pump up the volume on mine abd give them a workout but even at low volumes it can be heard…

    All the best…

    And please no b&w comments from the peanut gallery masses unless you have heard them (that includes saying huh? what’s that?!)

  5. ITunes will not only give you a free mp3 version of CDs bought from Amazon… It will give you free mp3 versions of any CD you can lay your hands on. Pop it in snd watch it happen.

  6. This is really big news because it is SO HARD to rip music using Apple’s iTunes. (into the superior AAC format)

    Now if Amazon REALLY wants to break ground, they can offer free digital download versions of DVD’s that you buy through Amazon.

  7. I still buy cd’s when they’re cheaper than the digital version, and this does save me converting them myself and waiting for it to come in the post. It’s not going to lead to me buying any more or less music from them though.

  8. The unmentioned part is that it is retroactive. Music you purchased previously will be part of the plan as tracks are rolled out and agreements with IP owners are updated.

    Apple would sell them to you.

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