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May 12, 2008

Amazon MP3 Downloads

Filed under Music, Reviews, Web


Last year I switched from using iTunes and Rhapsody for my source of music back to CD's. The main reason: convenience.

I'm switching again...to Amazon MP3.

They have a really good selection of music. Singles cost 89 or 99 cents.

The *big* difference over iTunes and Rhapsody: you download music as MP3, not a format that will only work on certain devices.

I have two iPods, an MP3 player for my car, phone with a media player, and my computer. MP3 is the only format that will work in all places (and any future devices I get). MP3 support is a requirement for me.

Anytime I bought from iTunes/Rhapsody, I'd immediately burn the DRM'ed songs to CD and then extract them as MP3's back to the hard drive. It was a painfully slow process...especially filling in all the missing information.

Amazon MP3 avoids all of this...I just pick a song and it is downloaded directly to my library AND it has all the song information and cover art!

Amazon MP3 is better than CD's because your purchase is immediate (no waiting for CD delivered by mail) and there is no need to rip the MP3's from the CD.

It is pretty addictive...I bought $40 worth of singles tonight.

If I can't find it on Amazon MP3, then I'll use CD's as my backup option.

Highly recommended!

Comments (5)


I see that the songs are DRM-free. Are there any restrictions or limits that you know of with Amazon MP3?

From the Amazon MP3 Terms of Use:


You represent, warrant and agree that you will use the Service only for your personal, non-commercial, entertainment use and not for any redistribution of the Digital Content or other use restricted in this Section 2.2. You agree not to infringe the rights of the Digital Content's copyright owners and to comply with all applicable laws in your use of the Digital Content. Except as set forth in Section 2.1 above, you agree that you will not redistribute, transmit, assign, sell, broadcast, rent, share, lend, modify, adapt, edit, sub-license or otherwise transfer or use the Digital Content. You are not granted any synchronization, public performance, promotional use, commercial sale, resale, reproduction or distribution rights for the Digital Content. You acknowledge that the Digital Content embodies the intellectual property of a third party and is protected by law.

Sounds like you can only buy this for yourself...you can't give it to someone as a gift or distribute it in any way.

In the comments section of the MP3 tag info, there is text that says:
Amazon.com Song ID: XXXXXXXX

This number may be a way to track where an MP3 comes from if it is unique for every user...but what I've seen on the internet appears to indicate it is just a song identifier.

Also, the music itself may (probably does) have some kind of watermark that ties your name to the MP3.

I guess the biggest fear would be if someone, without your knowledge, took your MP3's and made them available on the internet. This could easily happen if your Ipod is stolen.

It will be interesting to see if anybody gets in trouble for using this format outside of its terms of use.

I'm headed back in the opposite direction. I'm been needing to rework my CD collection for a while, and I am not pleased with the sound quality of some of my early conversions (ten years ago at least). Now that hard drive space is so cheap, I can very easily fit my 300+ CDs uncompressed on a single hard drive. I can stream back WAVS in my house, and just convert the ones I really want on my iPod. Having the physical CD to fall back on is a real bonus, although I still cringe at buying the clunker songs on some albums.


Wowser! You're looking at least a 1 TB HD to hold 300+ CDs.

Also, what a pain to go through 300+ CDs.

I only have the old fashioned 800 Megabyte CDs, 300 of which would fit handily on a 250 Gig hard drive.

You could fit 100+ uncompressed DVDs on 1 TB. And 1TB drives are getting pretty reasonable ($250 for an external USB drive at BBuy).

My system rips them pretty quickly, and since its dual core I don't get much of a performance hit in the process. I just keep a stack by my desk and rip them while I work on other stuff.

The first CDs I converted way back in the day took almost as long to rip as it did to play them on a blazing 333 Mhz workstation, so what I go through nowadays is a snap!

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