Do you like buying music online? I know I do. I have hundreds of songs I’ve purchased over the years from the iTunes Music Store. There’s one problem, though. DRM.
What does DRM mean in practical terms for users of the iTunes Music Store? It means songs purchased in the store can only be played on up to 5 computers with iTunes installed (Windows and Mac OS only,) and only on the iPod, not on other brands of mp3 players. This is a problem for me, because I don’t have iTunes installed on every OS I use, so on my computers running Linux, I can’t play music I purchased from the iTMS, or even access the store! Solution? Switch stores.
The Amazon Mp3 Downloads section of Amazon.com offers high quality DRM-free Mp3 tracks for download, at lower prices than iTunes. Not only is the store (and the purchased music) accessible from computers running Windows, Mac, or Linux, but you pay less for higher quality music. The average track currently costs $0.99 at iTMS, but the average track in the Amazon store is $0.79. Album prices are also lower, with Amazon’s average price topping out at $8.99, compared to iTMS’ average price of $9.99 per album. All the tracks I’ve purchased from Amazon are mp3 files encoded at 256kbps; the tracks from iTMS are 128kbps AAC. Differences in formats aside, Amazon offers higher fidelity files for less money.
When using the available Amazon Mp3 Downloader, songs you buy from the Amazon store get automatically added to your iTunes Music Library (if you have iTunes installed,) which makes syncing them to your iPod (if you have one) as easy as with songs bought from the iTunes Store. Individual tracks can be purchased using only a standard web browser, while albums require the use of the download utility, which is a free download.
So what are you waiting for? If you currently use the iTunes Music Store to purchase music online, switch to Amazon.com and enjoy the benefits of cheaper, freer, and higher quality music.