Amazon Non-DRM MP3 Store now in Public Beta, Easy to Use

Amazon's MP3 store is now in public beta, so you can all have a fiddle around with the DRM-free service &mdash like I just did. First observations:

There are two million tunes available, from 180,000 artists, including tracks from EMI and Universal. Over half of the songs are priced at 89 cents, including the Top 100 tracks, and they're at 256 kbps resolution. Once you've installed the Amazon MP3 downloader you can pick off the tracks you want.

Good news: there's loads of Bowie, Stones, Daft Punk, Kanye. And the even better news is that the only Britney, Pussycat Dolls and Avril Lavigne you can find are karaoke versions, which means they'll be better than the originals. The bad news is that, despite a lot of big names, there's also a lot of filler: a gazillion different Willy Nelson compilations, both clean and dirty versions of Kanye and Fiddy, and hordes of unknowns, all which must eat into Amazon's two million tracks. [Amazon Earworm]

Press release:

Amazon.com Launches Public BETA of Amazon MP3, A Digital Music Store Offering Customers Earth's Biggest Selection of A La Carte DRM-Free MP3 Music Downloads



Amazon MP3 offers over 2 million songs from more than 180,000 artists and over 20,000 labels, including EMI Music and Universal Music Group



SEATTLE—September 25, 2007—Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) today launched a public beta of "Amazon MP3," a new digital music download store with Earth's biggest selection of a la carte DRM-free MP3 music downloads. Amazon MP3 has over 2 million songs from more than 180,000 artists represented by over 20,000 major and independent labels. Amazon MP3 complements Amazon.com's existing selection of over 1 million CDs to now offer customers more selection of physical and digital music than any other retailer.



"Amazon MP3 is an all-MP3, DRM-free catalog of a la carte music from major labels and independent labels, playable on any device, in high-quality audio, at low prices," said Bill Carr, Amazon.com Vice President for Digital Music. "This new digital music service has already been through an extensive private beta, and today we're excited to offer it to our customers as a fully functional public beta. We look forward to receiving feedback from our customers and using their input to refine the service."



Every song and album on Amazon MP3 is available exclusively in the MP3 format without digital rights management (DRM) software. This means that Amazon MP3 customers are free to enjoy their music downloads using any hardware device, including PCs, Macs

, iPods

, Zunes

, Zens

, iPhones

, RAZRs

, and BlackBerrys

; organize their music using any music management application such as iTunes

or Windows Media Player

; and burn songs to CDs.



Most songs are priced from 89 cents to 99 cents, with more than 1 million of the 2 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.



Every song on Amazon MP3 is encoded at 256 kilobits per second, which gives customers high audio quality at a manageable file size.



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 or Windows Media Player libraries.



Amazon MP3 has over 2 million songs from more than 180,000 artists spanning every genre of music, including 50 Cent, Alison Krauss, Amy Winehouse, Ani DiFranco, Arcade Fire, Beastie Boys, Coldplay, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Ella Fitzgerald, Feist, John Coltrane, KT Tunstall, Keith Urban, Koko Taylor, Lily Allen, Madeleine Peyroux, Maroon 5, Marvin Gaye, Miles Davis, Morrissey, Nelly, Nickel Creek, Nirvana, Norah Jones, Paul McCartney, Philip Glass, Pink Floyd, Pixies, Radiohead, Ray Charles, Rod Stewart, Spoon, Stevie Wonder, The Chemical Brothers, The Decemberists, and The Rolling Stones.



"Well done Amazon for making so much music available to so many people," said KT Tunstall. "It's good to know, in the words of The King, you're taking care of business!"



Leading independent labels offering their catalog of music for the first time as DRM-free MP3s include Alligator Records, HighTone Records, Madacy Entertainment, Sanctuary Records, Rounder Records, Righteous Babe Records, Sugar Hill Records, and Trojan Records.