New AutoRip service of Amazon takes on iTunes’ dominance

Last Thursday saw Amazon announcing a new music service, clearly a move that intends to strike at Apple’s dominance in digital music sales, that will let users who own music CDs purchased from the company a free digital copy.

Called Amazon AutoRip, this new service allow customers to store their music library in remote data centers run by Amazon. The music files will be available anytime to download or play through Amazon’s Cloud Player service, Amazon said.

Music CDs eligible for AutoRip service purchased sometime after Amazon started selling discs in 1998 will also be given free digital versions of that music when they use their Cloud Player libraries, said Amazon.

The digital MP3 venture of Amazon started in 2007 but until now, it has only enjoyed a meager less than 15 percent of the market, said the The NPD Group. In comparison, Apple’s iTunes store is enjoying a 50 percent cut of the market, a clear industry leader.

The new AutoRip service feeds rumors that Amazon may also be doing the same thing for its books, by making digital copies of physical books that would run on Kindles.

Morgan Stanley analyst Scott Devitt said: “It would even be profitable for to pay publishers a subsidy to transition all the books purchased on to Kindle books. Having a digital library that is accessible only on the Kindle platform essentially locks a customer into the Kindle ecosystem forever. If executed, it would possibly be the largest coup in company history.”

Amazon did not give any comment about the possibility of the said idea.

There are over 50,000 albums available for AutoRip service, according to Amazon. Head of digital music unit in Amazon, Steve Boom, said that the company had focused on music during the past 15 years as it has been the most popular among Amazon customers.

Albums eligible for AutoRip include “Thriller” by Michael Jackson, “Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd, “Overexposed” by Maroon 5, and “21” by Adele.

Without hinting on the number of CDs to digitize through AutoRip, Boom said that millions of customers has bought hundreds of millions of CDs from the company.

“When we picked those 50,000 titles we focused on having a substantial majority of our physical CD sales covered,” Boom said. “People will be exposed to Cloud Player and our digital music offering, which is a good thing,” he added. “We want to take this global.”

Amazon’s most recent move is clear sign that it is intensifying its push against Apple’s iTunes, now that its Kindle Fire tablets are showing strong sales and its Cloud Player music app is available in most of the gadgets running Android and iOS operating systems.

source: reuters

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