Rejoice, DRM-haters. Amazon MP3 has quietly gone live in the UK this morning. You can find it here. It’s got some big big discounts on popular albums, with Take That’s new ‘Circus’ going for just £3, as is Elbow’s ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’ and Seasick Steve’s ‘I Started Out With Nothin And I Still Got Most Of It Left’. Recent albums by Kings Of Leon, Coldplay and Girls Aloud are similarly cheaptastic.
Although the catalogue isn’t as ridiculously extensive as more established download services – yet – the user experience is great. I just downloaded Joni Mitchell’s ‘Blue’ in just four clicks, plus a small one-off Amazon Downloader install, which downloads tracks in the background and adds them to your favourite media player.
This is a big power-play in the UK music downloads market, and will leave services like 7Digital worrying, to say the least. It’s also going to be concerning for Apple, who has slashed prices today – possibly in anticipation of this move. Amazon represents an online brand that consumers trust, and you can bet that they’ll put some serious marketing spend behind this in time for Christmas.
There are a few issues with the service – aside from the catalogue, you only get one download credit. Once the files are on your hard drive, you can’t download them again. Amazon advises you to make a backup, and I’ll second that recommendation. I wouldn’t think it’d be too tough to add a bit of the site that tracks what you’ve downloaded in the past and offers it for download at a later date.
Once Amazon gets the catalogue sorted (which won’t take long), this is going to be a great – cheap, easy, and accessible to the great British public. As long as Amazon keeps the prices low, the customers will keep rolling in, and I’ll be one of them.