Amazon launches digital service to rival iTunes

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Amazon launches digital service to rival iTunes

Post by Baz on Thu Dec 04, 2008 4:40 am

Amazon has started a music price war by launching its own version of iTunes and offering some big-name albums for just £3.

The online retailer says it has joined forces with the big four of the music industry – SonyBMG, Universal Music, EMI Music and Warner Music – to offer bargain price downloads.

As a 'launch promotion' Amazon MP3 is offering new albums, including Only By The Night by Kings of Leon and Take That's The Circus for £3.

Songs will be available for 59p, 20p less than on Apple's iTunes.

By contrast Take That's album on iTunes is £8.99 but Apple has res­ponded by cutting the price of some of its albums, including older releases by Oasis and Coldplay, to £4.

Amazon, which began as a book seller, is launching the new service to cash in on its worldwide data­base of 84million customers.

Its songs can be downloaded on to all MP3 players and mobiles, including iPhones and Blackberries. Amazon also claims it has an advantage over iTunes because it is free of digital rights restrictions so its songs can be moved freely on across computers and MP3 players.

The full details of album prices – or how many will be available at £3 – have not yet been released.

The company said: 'Unlike some other platforms, we won't have a flat rate. It will depend on how much the album costs Amazon.'

However, in the US version of the site, which has been online since September last year, the Kings of Leon album sells for about £6.70.

Experts welcomed Amazon's launch, which was unheralded save for the appearance of an MP3 logo on the front page of its site.

But they said it would prove difficult for Amazon to make much of an impact on the iTunes stranglehold in Britain, where it has as much as 80 per cent of the download market.

'Amazon has to do it – they have to put a flag in the sand and try to estab­lish themselves as relevant in this market or they risk what happened to the high street happening to them,' said analyst Dan Cryan.

Jonny Evans, of music news website Distorted Loop, added: 'Competition is always good news for music fans.

Original article here


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