I have been a consumer of Amazon MP3’s for at least two years. Probably longer. I choose to buy music through the Amazon MP3 downloader above almost anything else. One simple reason: no DRM.
Amazon MP3’s can be downloaded for great prices, and they can then be burned to a CD, moved to an MP3 player, transferred to another computer, whatever you want to make your listening easier. With iTunes, if I download a song or album, I have to use it on that machine, or on my iPod, but can use it nowhere else. In our house, there are four people, 7 computers, and four MP3 players, only one of which is an iPod. iTunes may have a great selection of music, but because there is no flexibility in use, iTunes is pretty much useless to me.
From Amazon last week I downloaded an album of 50 kid songs for my 7 year old. I burned them onto CD and placed them on her computer so we could update her MP3 player when she is ready for new music. I also downloaded two jazz albums for my own use, burned them to CD for my archives and also uploaded them to my iPod. And I downloaded an album of circus music for my husband that he will use for background music when doing shows. I burned them to CD and they are now in his show trunk. And finally I downloaded the latest Green Day album for my 15 year old. She immediately put it on her MP3 player.
I paid $23.95 for all of this music. The same music on iTunes would have cost well over $100, and the songs would have all had to go on my iPod. With Amazon, I can download whatever I want and give it to whichever family member is desiring it, and save it to whatever device I choose. This flexibility pushes Amazon to the top of my list when it comes to music accumulation. I live in constant fear that I will lose my downloaded iTunes music in a computer crash or iPod failure. With the Amazon music, I know it’s always there, in multiple places, and that if I crash a computer or my iPod, I can still retrieve my Amazon downloads either from the CD I put them on for archives, or by logging into Amazon from another computer and re-downloading them (for free).
Another bonus for using Amazon? They often have freebies, or 99-cent album sales, or special deals (I got the Green Day album for 5.99 as a deal of the day). When it comes to pinching a penny, I’m an expert, and I definitely take advantage of Amazon’s specials and sales.
To be fair, I have also tried eMusic, and while it’s a great service with decent prices, selection is rather limited and can keep me from using that subscription enough to make it worth paying for. Perhaps when they are further developed, they will be a better service. eMusic downloads are also DRM free and can be burned to CD or uploaded to any type of MP3 player.