Amazon vs. iTunes

If you’re a user of iTunes, I’d recommend checking out Amazon’s MP3 shop as an alternative. I had looked at it when it first launched, but they didn’t have many tunes so I kind of blew it off as another loser.

Then I visited it again yesterday, and they’ve improved their library greatly! The biggest advantage to Amazon is that you’re buying DRM-free music, in the mp3 format. This means you control and own the music forever, and it’s as portable as you want. My biggest complaint with iTunes is that you don’t get a real mp3 (it’s an iTunes-specific file with DRM protection). About every 6 months my iTunes client decides that my iPod is new and asks me if I want to copy my purchased music from iPod to iTunes; you can only do that 5 times. After your 5 “copies” are used up, you can’t play the file anymore and have to buy it again, if you want to listen to that song in the future. To add a little icing, most tracks on Amazone are 89 cents instead of the standard 99 cents on iTunes.

The biggest drawback to Amazon is that they’re website is no match for the iTunes client, so you’re not going to get recommendations based on your current music which is a nice feature. And you can’t play sample tracks and browse at the same time. They do have a “downloader” utility, which you install locally and it downloads your purchases and automagically inserts them into iTunes.

If you haven’t tried the Amazon MP3 store, you really should!