Amazon’s UK MP3 Download Store has been around for a while now, and it has being trading blows with iTunes over the title of best music download store; but with Amazon’s latest update we figured it was a good time to have a good look at the Amazon MP3 Store and whether or not it was worth using.
Using the familiar Amazon layout the MP3 section offers around 5 million tracks that you can download using the ‘Amazon MP3 Downloader’ and then gives you the DRM free songs in MP3 format which you can easily add to both Windows Media Player and iTunes direct from the application; and all at a price substantially cheaper than buying a hard copy (those ‘old-fashioned’ CDs).
In fact they are a lot cheaper than even iTunes – the story that caught our eye today was Amazon’s announcement that they are cutting the prices of 100 of their tracks down to a measly 29p. This appears to be very aptly timed as Apple will tomorrow announce that they will be charging 99p for the latest chart hits (up from the flat rate of 79p) which has obviously irritated quite a few people.
So, how easy is Amazon MP3 to use? I’m going to give you a step by step guide showing how good/bad the service is – and I will do this by purchasing ‘Hallelujah’ by Jeff Buckley (don’t ask why, it was just the first generic track that came to my head!). So having got myself to the MP3 page through the Amazon.co.uk homepage I started by going into the advanced search to look for it…
This is where I found the first problem with Amazon MP3, and that is that the search function is stupidly unforgiving. In fact if you even miss out one letter (e.g. ‘Halleluja’) then it comes up with nothing which is unbelievably frustrating. Fortunately I have Google to correct my spelling inadequacies, but it is still disappointing when you consider how big a company Amazon is.
You can then either buy them through the Amazon 1-Click procedure or add them to your basket as I did, although if you have it set up then 1-Click makes buying lots of tracks very easy. When you then go through to the checkout you will be asked to download the aforementioned ‘Amazon MP3 Download’ which is easily done using the big yellow button and usual install procedure (which took about 10 seconds).
You then finish your checkout procedure and will download a .amz file which the downloader will automatically open and start downloading the tracks. Unfortunately this does take some time, but this is really the only time consuming part of the process – the rest is very quick and easy. Having downloaded they are put into a sub-folder in your ‘Music’ folder and are ready to use.
Overall I have to say this system is very nice to use, and with the exception of the irritating search function it all works very well. The best bit (or rather best two bits) are that they are DRM free meaning you are free to do whatever you like with them in terms of using them on your various devices. Another benefit is that they’re also very cheap – the Jeff Buckley track only cost me 59p which isn’t bad (having said that I’m not a big fan, and it has since been deleted!).
So a big thumbs up for Amazon UK MP3 Download Store; and if they can sort out the searching then they could really start to prise people away from their beloved iTunes.
Via – PC Pro