Amazon is set to launch its long awaited download store in mid-September according to the New York Post.
All tracks on the new service will be DRM-free including tracks from EMI and Universal and hundreds of independent labels including several we hear that have never sold DRM free previously. Absent will be copy protected tracks from WMG or Sony/BMG.
Amazon will have at least two track prices - 99 cents for new and hits songs and 89 cents for music from emerging acts and back catalog. Full album downloads are expected to cost between $7.99 and $9.99. The pricing strategy is rubbing some labels the wrong way leaving Amazon still negotiating with some labels.
COMMENTARY: While it is unfortunate and potentially confusing to consumers that some major label product will not be available as downloads, it is hard to overstate the potential of Amazon's new store to attract both adult and indie fans.
By all measures, Amazon is one of the top five music retailers in the country. Their exclusive adoption of universally compatible DRM free mp3's at normal or discount prices should help expand the digital download market. And the availability of downloads alongside physical product in a trusted and user-friendly environment is long overdue.