Yeah we said it.  It needed to be said.  iTunes, you’ve finally met your match. All of the iTunes competitors to this point have been extremely flawed in one way or another but one company that understands consumers as well, if not better, than Apple is doing it right.  As Apple fans, we hope this rattles more than just a little bit the cage that is the iTunes music store.  In fact, until things change at Apple, we are onto Amazon.

Amazon Music Store specs:

  • say it with us..”DRM FREE, DRM FREE, DRM FREE” (Yes we are aware of EMI $1.29 AACs…which brings us to…)
  • ~256k VARIABLE bitrate MP3s.  The only format that works in every player out there.  It will also work in players we buy if 5 years from now if  Nokia or Samsung make the best open devices.  256K is solid.  Not quite CD quality but close enough that it doesn’t matter for most of us without $10,000 systems.
  • Songs starting at .89 cents.  Yes, consumers want lower prices and In-a-Godda-Davida is worth more than an Eminem 30 second skit with Paul Rosenberg.  Apple, meet your customers – we want variable pricing.  Get it done.
  • What’s mine is mine.  We go thru a lot of computers here.  After 5 suddenly all of our music can’t be copied anymore and we are in hell activating and deactivating machines.  That is BS.  I’ve been stung.  Hello Amazon.

Amazon is basically selling what AllofMP3.com was selling to consumers, but legally and more  (realistically) expensively.  That price will probably erode over the next few years as competition and flexible pricing mature.  All good for the consumers.  We can only hope that videos and movies follow.

Apple had better get its act together quickly or it will a be relegated to the same 3% rabid fanboy market share in the music sales industry that it garnered during the PC wars.  Hopefully they’ve learned their lesson by now.  But all signs point to “no”.

EDIT: TUAW has a great review of the 2 systems

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