Amazon Auto-Rip. Great. Idea.
In a nutshell, Amazon will provide a digital version of physical CDs purchased through their website. Think of it like iTunes Match with CDs instead of illegally downloaded music.
Seriously, why did it take so long for someone to think of this and put it into action. I buy a CD and I automatically get an mp3 version. Magic, this means I do not have to wait until my CD arrives to start enjoying the music. All I am going to do when the CD arrives is rip it straight in to my PC so this has saved a step.
OK, so I do not know the full details and there is probably a catch somewhere. Indeed, in Dan Gilmor’s article for The Guardian US, he does point out the terms of service suggest files may be watermarked and tied to the Amazon Cloud Player universe. Regardless, it is still great this innovation has come to light as it will no doubt help drive physical sales once again. Horrific T&Cs are something we have come to live with on the Internet and this is the same again. If indeed it does become tied to an “eco-system” then you still have you physical CD to create a clean and liberated mp3 rip.
In business terms it is a genius stroke for Amazon as it will tie many to shopping there in a similar way to how Apple locked people in to iTunes. It is good to see Apple finally given some serious competition in the music download space as when two giants go head-to-head the winner is generally us. Just look at how the compact camera market improved ten fold when Canon and Panasonic went to war a few years ago.
My main gripe with Amazon Auto-Rip is a regional one, at launch it is restricted to North America. Fix-up and release this in the UK, what’s the hold-up?
PS. Amazon, please start paying more tax in the UK so I don’t have to feel a little dirty when shopping on your website.