Amazon's new AutoRip service sounds pretty cool though there are some limitations. When you buy an eligible CD you get a free MP3 version that's stored in Amazon's Cloud Player. Given that most CD's aren't copy protected, this is a smart move one can see the labels going for that could boost sales of CDs as well as awareness and usage of Cloud Player.
Probably the biggest surprise in all this is that they included eligible items back to 1998. Steve Boom, Amazon's VP of digital music, claims that record labels "are excited about this":
"The songs will automatically appear in Amazon’s Cloud Player, and be immediately available for either playback or download from a PC or a mobile device. If a consumer has never accessed his or her account before, the music will be there as soon as they do..."
"The digital-matching program is only available for 50,000 albums. And, only in the U.S."
"Amazon has agreements with the three major record labels and a bunch of independents, but that doesn’t mean they have rights to every title...[Boom] said that Amazon focused heavily on securing rights for the most popular titles first. The company will add more titles over time, including new releases as they come out."
As you can see from the above image, albums eligible for AutoRip are clearly marked. The terms and conditions are well worth a look. Important details include the fact that no albums in orders with any items marked as gifts will be eligible. If you download the MP3 from your Cloud Player and return the CD, you'll be automatically billed for the MP3 purchases.
Even if you don't use Amazon's Cloud Player, your MP3's will be waiting there. Cloud Player is free for MP3's bought from Amazon and that now includes AutoRip MP3's. You can also import up to 250 songs for free or pay $24.99 a year to upload up to 250,000 songs.
AutoRip seems a smart play on many levels. It gives CD purchasers a reason to buy from Amazon rather than other such outlets. It introduces people to Amazon's Cloud Player. It might even remind people that Amazon is a major source of digital music.
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/App.net) blogs about music crowdfunding at Crowdfunding For Musicians (@CrowdfundingM). To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.