Five Reasons You Won’t Use Amazon MP3…..YetSep 25th, 2007 | By James Lewin | Category: Digital Music, iPods & Portable Media Players
Amazon today launched a public beta of Amazon MP3, a new digital music download store that features DRM-free MP3s. The new store promises music downloads that work with any portable media player, at prices cheaper than iTunes.
While Amazon is offering millions of songs, at prices lower than Apple’s iTunes Store, it faces an uphill battle.
Five Reasons You Won’t Use Amazon MP3
- You won’t save money – Most songs at Amazon MP3 are priced from 89 cents to 99 cents. The average portable media player owner only buys about 20 digital music downloads. In other words, you might $2.00 by switching from iTunes to Amazon MP3. Do you want to install a new downloader application and set it up to save $2.00?
- You probably don’t care about DRM as much as tech bloggers do – if you read a lot of tech blogs, its easy to get the impression that people really hate the limitations of DRM. While we’re not fans of DRM’d music, most people don’t care about DRM when it comes to making their buying decisions. iTunes is the most successful digital music store, in spite of the fact it primarily sells DRM’d music, while DRM-free offerings have floundered or failed. Most people get their DRM-free music on by ripping CDs.
- Amazon MP3 Will Drive You Crazy – Amazon seems to have forgotten about usability with Amazon MP3. The site is really hard to browse, which will drive you to use the site’s search. Unfortunately, the site’s search results are really bad, too. The top search result for “Britney Spears” is You Drive Me Crazy – the sound-alike version by Studio Group. The top “rap” results are from Andre Nickatina, Mr. Ti2bs & Katha-O – not Kanye West or 50 Cent. The top “Ozzy” result is from The Lounge Tribute To Ozzy Osbourne & Black Sabbath. It’s enough to make you want to bite the head off of a bat.
- Saving 10 cents doesn’t matter if you can’t find the song you want – Amazon MP3 has over 2 million songs, about a third the number of songs that are available through iTunes. Of the 2 million songs that Amazon MP3 does have, major artists are notably lacking. In other words, most of the time, you won’t find what you want on Amazon MP3.
- Amazon MP3 likes karaoke a lot more than you do - for some reason, Amazon MP3 REALLY wants you to sing karaoke. The top search result for “Led Zeppelin” is the Sound Choice karaoke version of Going To California. Amazon MP3 doesn’t have any Justin Timberlake; all they have is karaoke version of his songs. They’ve got lots of karaoke versions of top-selling country artist Kenny Chesney’s hits, too. Look for Nickelback or Linkin Park or Rihanna or Trisha Yearwood or Avril Lavigne and get ready to sing some major karaoke. If your coworker annoys the @#$# out of you when he “sings” along with his iPod, you can probably blame Amazon MP3.
A lot of tech blogs are jazzed about Amazon MP3. CrunchGear, Engadget and Ars Technica must like themselves some karaoke, or the words “DRM-free” are enough to make them overlook the fact that Amazon MP3 offers a mediocre selection through a lousy interface.
Unless you really want to buy a lot of DRM-free karaoke, you’re probably not going to get a lot from Amazon MP3…..yet.
What Amazon MP3 does have going for it is that it’s a significant digital music offering from a site that you probably already use and trust. The major labels are hungry for an alternative to iTunes, so Amazon’s relatively weak selection of digital music downloads is likely to improve soon. If Amazon can bring their MP3 store up to the same level of usability offered by the rest of their site, they just might have a contender on their hands.