Amazon has announced the launch of Amazon AutoRip, a new service that automatically gives purchasers of CDs free MP3 copies of the discs they\’ve bought through the online retail giant.
Available right now, the service is only for users of the Amazon\’s cloud music service, Amazon Cloud Player. Those who buy an officially labeled \”AutoRip CD\” will see the MP3 version of their purchase sent automatically to their Cloud Player library, completely for free. Amazon says the MP3s will then be ready for \”immediate playback or download.\”
Considering that many modern music lovers have abandoned the CD entirely, this may not sound too significant. What may make AutoRip more interesting, though, is the fact that Amazon is applying the service to past CDs purchased through Amazon retroactively. This means that customers will be getting free MP3 copies of discs that were purchased through Amazon up to 15 years ago, back when the company launched its Music Store in 1998.
Now, not every CD is currently an AutoRip CD just yet, but Amazon says that more than 50,000 albums are eligible at the moment, with \”more titles added all the time.\” This will have a lot to do with how well Amazon can negotiate with record labels and publishers, but the company says it has deals in place with many of them right now, ranging from major players like Sony and Warner to various independent ones. One would expect most new albums to be tagged as AutoRip eligible as well.
Amazon Cloud Player, by the way, is currently available through the web, any Android phone or tablet, iPhone, iPod touch, Kindle Fire (of course), Sonos, Roku and Samsung Smart TVs.
While CDs are still the leading form of music distribution — legally speaking, at least — it\’s no secret that they\’ve been dying a slow death as digital distribution becomes the norm. Amazon\’s new service may not do the old format any favors, as it\’ll likely show more people just how more convenient online music has become as of late.
But from a business standpoint, AutoRip seems like a smart play aimed squared at toppling iTunes. There\’s still a sizeable number of buyers who still prefer physical copies of their music, so giving them this sort of \”two for one\” value could sway consumers, at least somewhat, in the Cloud Player\’s direction.