Building notes, projects, and occasional rants

Amazon Music Store

Amazon unveiled a beta version of their new music store.

The specs look good:

  • no DRM;
  • decent bit-rate;
  • MP3 format;
  • simple Mac-based download app that places your songs into iTunes for automatic iPod synchronization.

So I'm happy. We finally have competition in the online music store market.

From Apple point-of-view, I don't think this will be a big loss: their profits come from the iPod, iTMS itself is not profitable enough to justify the cost of operations. And this new store works perfectly with the iPod. Besides, now they probably get a better deal with some of the record companies...

Yeah sure. :)

What I really think this is, is a nice finger from the record companies to Apple. I believe they are not very happy with Apple dominance of the online music market, and the best way to control it again, is to build up some competition. And given that they themselves don't have the brain to do it (all their previous attempts failed so far), this time they went all in, full guns blazing.

I mean, that is what monopolies do, right? They turn adversaries that need your products against one another. It worked for Microsoft in the past, why will it not work for record companies?

Another thing I'm curious about is which record companies are in there? Which majors? I mean, if there are some major record companies in the new Amazon store, then the question is: why has Apple got a worse deal with their music?

Two of the possible answers (the two I find most interesting) are:

  • Apple has the same deal as Amazon. Its Apple choice to inflate the prices to the values that we see today. Also its Apple choice to put DRM in the music files;
  • Apple does not have the same deal, and this is just some big power struggle.

There where some court documents that came out that showed Apple cost per song to be around $.70. Also, Apple has publicly said that they are against DRM, something that record companies never did say. So the first one is unlikely but not impossible.

The second one goes hand-in-hand with my "lets take back the control"-theory.

The last point I find interesting is that the store seems to be open to all countries. I mean I was able to buy one music from Portugal, and the only thing I needed was a valid pair state/zip code (use CA 95014, from Apple main campus address). And we all know the pains Apple went through to have a store in each country. Again: was that a fake problem or again record companies are making it easy for Amazon?

Update: Gruber got this part wrong. I was able to buy music from the Amazon store and my credit card has a portuguese address. Their check, based on state/zip code pair, is a joke.

Only time will tell.