Tuesday, December 19

Amazon to open DRM-free MP3 Store in Q1 2007?

Could it be? An actual honest to god digital marketplace for music with downloadable MP3's which will play on any MP3 player not just the iPod or the Zune?

In addition it's rummored this marketplace will have *variable pricing* allowing it to meet a supply and demand for music based in reality and not the arbitrary $1.99 per song price schema.

Could the digital marketplace every music lover has been waiting for since Napster actually arive in the first quarter of 2007?

Bob Caswell from Computers.net sums the rumor up best.

Looks like rumors are afloat that Amazon is planning on a late first quarter 2007 launch of a new music download store. In an already crowded music download market, Amazon hopes to differentiate itself in two major ways:

The company is apparently telling labels (politely, I'm sure) that it is only interested in selling DRM-free mp3s (meaning, once you download the song, it's yours for whatever purpose you see fit, no more restrictions like you can burn only X amount of times or you can only have it reside on X computers, etc.). The second difference is that Amazon seems interested in offering variable pricing.

Rumors are claiming that Amazon began circulating contracts to labels late last week. Obviously if Amazon goes the DRM-free mp3 route, the company nicely avoids playing favorites on the hardware side, as it will only sell music downloads that are compatible on all devices.

Right now it's not clear which major labels might be included at Amazon's launch. Indie labels seem to be branded as the likely first movers. The DRM-free approach may not be what some labels want, but variable pricing is a feature other labels have been interested in for some time.

So the question is: Is Amazon big enough to take significant market share away from Apple & friends? If the DRM-free ideal comes true, I think we may have something to look forward to in 2007.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, because emusic had way too much marketshare, eventually someone had to eat into that.

Michael Meiser said...

Yeah... ummm... emusic is a monthly service fee.

First, You can't just go there and buy music. It works like cellular minutes or Netflix. You have to have a monthly membership. If you don't use your credits each month you loose them. That's not really what people are looking for. Some sort of BMG music club thing. I don't think so.

Second, it's not like they have a wide range of musicians.

Maybe you're thinking of AllofMp3.com

Third, It has no variable pricing.

Four, it has 10% of the digital marketplace.


Five.... it it HASN't Captured the market and netier has apple. Apple's got 80-90% of shite, and emusic has the other 10% of shite.

Apple sells almost as many ipods as they do songs... are we to believe everyone who has an ipod only listens to three songs!? There's zillions of mp3 players out there and they must have Something on them, right!?

Shit... are you honestly telling me that there's no demand for people selling mp3's!?

That emusic and apple have completely saturated the fucking market!?

That the market will never get any larger.

Or am I missing your point somehow?

Is this some sarcastic slant about emusic not getting a fair shake?

eMusic even without DRM is a walled garden. You go to their website and you can't see a DAMN thing, not a thing unless you signup and give them a credit card! WHat if Amazon.com and Ebay hid all their merchandise behind a paywall so you couldn't even browse or link to.

This is exactly what iTunes AND eMusic are doing... the only difference is one has DRM free music. It's still the stupidest god damn ecommerce site on the web.

Oye! Just because eMusic isn't DRM doesn't mean that it's done everything right and immediately in six months captured the whole market.

It's taken one step, albiet one big step in the right direction. It's got about nine more to go.

Anonymous said...

Interesting rebut to my throw away sarcasm.

Here's what I was trying to say:

Currently the market for Indie Rock in mp3 format is taken completely by emusic.com. The article stated that "the likely first movers" would be Indie labels. There's no real evidence that there will ever be anything more than that on Amazon.

So in the beginning and perhaps for a long while, all it will do will cut into emusic's market share, which isn't so tremendous in the first place. Perhaps it will grow it a bit by providing more convenient service, but I'm afraid the best it could do is hurt emusic.

Also, I think you're throwing the word "Walled Garden" around a bit too much these days. Every album on emusic can be browsed, sampled and linked to through a standard web browser without being logged in.