In my ongoing effort to find more ways to clutter up my computers, I bought a couple of tracks from Amazon.com’s MP3 vaults yesterday.
Anyone who sells digital music has to contend with iTunes, and Amazon offers the following advantages:
- No DRM. These are perfectly ordinary MP3 files with a 256k bit rate, which will load onto darn near anything.
- A small (500k) download manager which automatically loads your purchase into iTunes or Windows Music Player. You don’t need it for single songs; you will if you buy an entire album. (Mac OS or Windows only. Linux is “under development.” Linux users, though, can still download individual tunes.)
- A (slightly) smaller price. Most tracks go for 89 cents; albums run $4.99 to $9.99.
There is one downside, apart from the fact that this is still technically a public beta: if you lose a file somehow, you can’t download another copy. Needless to say, they recommend you back up anything you buy.
The two tracks I bought (one by Nine Inch Nails, one by Fergie, and make of that what you will) sounded pretty decent through my iTunes work-box installation.