Apple vs. Amazon. Which Co. Is Better For Music?

image from www.google.com Yesterday  Amazon launched the Kindle Fire tablet which includes a free cloud locker and music player.  Beyond that, what does all this mean for music?  As Mark Mulligan pointed out, yesterday showcased the huge difference between Amazon and Apple's content strategies, and therein lies the answer.


"Put simply, Apple is in the business of selling content to help sell devices whereas Amazon is in the business of selling devices to help sell content," said Mulligan.

Isn't the later better for music?

As creative artists and music companies roll out new formats and services, who is more likely to teak their devices to help them sell more? Amazon.  As the whims of fans shift, which company will be quicker to meet

their needs?  The one whos eprimary goal is to sell them more stuff. That's Amazon.

Both companies are leaders. But Apple's innovation is driven by a chosen few.  Amazon innovates by listening to the marketplace.

So, which company is better for music?

Share on:


  1. It’s a tough call. Although Amazon seems better suited to meet artist and music companies’ needs ideologically, Amazon employs some questionable tactics in selling its content with small developers in their app store, and I’m not sure, but it probably uses similar practices with artists too.
    For example, Amazon can discount your album, name the discount price, and sell it without your approval. It can use your single as free track of the day, and this has been done in the Amazon Appstore’s “Free App of the Day” numerous times. Also in the Amazon Appstore, they set the normal listing price of your app.
    I’m not sure which of these practices translate to their music distribution, but Amazon’s mission to lower prices ad infinitum does not seem to jive with artists or music companies that like to be in more control.
    I feel like Apple is more willing on being lenient with its storefronts because its bread-and-butter business is hardware. It doesn’t need the digital distribution to be ultra competitive as the low-price leader, and it certainly doesn’t need digital distribution to keep the company out of the red.

  2. Hector, you are an idiot.
    Amazon can sell music for a $1, but it still has to pay wholesale price to the artist/record company. Thus Amazon takes the loss, not the artist.

  3. Justin,
    Because Amazon claims it Cloud Service functions exactly like an external hard drive, it has not sought a license to stream music; so they aren’t paying anyone yet.
    Here is a quote from them,
    “There has also been speculation that we are looking for licenses for Cloud Drive and Cloud Player,” the e-mail said. “We are not looking for licenses for Cloud Drive or Cloud Player as they exist today — as no licensees are required.” http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/industry/digital-and-mobile/amazon-letter-to-labels-cloud-drive-locker-1005126042.story
    So this wholesale price you speek of exist only in your post unless you can show a signed deal from one label if you can
    BTW Justin, we know they are talking to the majors and again like all the other service there is little to no plan to compensate the independents.

  4. Nelson-Your argument is a bit flawed, when I buy a track on Amazon, the labels are, in fact, paid their set wholesale price, no matter what the retail price is. The label is then responsible for paying the artist & the publisher, who pays the songwriter, at least that’s how it is supposed to work! That track is then automatically put in my Amazon Cloud Locker, and I can access it whenever I want. When, however, I upload one of the tracks from my personal collection, it resides in my locker, acting as my remote hard drive. In this case, no money is paid to artists, labels, publishers or songwriters, and, in my opinion, they shouldn’t be paid. It is just serving as an extension of my computer.
    I do believe that, while the majors are important, both Amazon and Apple respect the indies, In Amazon’s case, they are hovering at around 50% major/indie sales.
    The reality of the “Fire” is that it brings some competition that is sorely needed. It’s good for music, musicians and the consumer.
    And, a one-horse race is not really fun to watch!

  5. Presumably, Yes if you get a track from Amazon they are paying the distributor; However, the argument that a song uploaded from your personal collection to the Amazon cloud loses a bit of it vener with me and here is why.
    Considering that anything on the cloud particularly Amazon’s is actually sitting on as many as 15 servers and this content can then stream to what every you can connect to said cloud which you can’t do with Apple’s
    ~ I find it hard to say that their services is acting as a backup and I not personally convinced that this runs afoul of the AHRA.
    So, We are talking about two different services. 1. backup 2. streaming.
    And, until Amazon and Google both get streaming licensing they are not conforming to the rules that are the law of the land. Considering we have been told as distributor that our our music if streamed we’ll have to payout to soundexchange. How can they get away with streaming without a license?
    As for these or other services respecting indies as much as the majors, I’ll let the payouts speak for themselves.

  6. From a pure amount-per-album standpoint, I make around a dollar more each album I sell through Apple. So, glad for any sales period, of course, but Apple has made me, a full-time indie artist, thousands more.

Comments are closed.