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Amazon.com to sell music downloads September 29, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Apple, Gadgets, Internet, Music.
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Amazon.com to sell music downloads as SpiralFrog goes for free

The world of online music stores is growing rapidly as Amazon.com  has started testing a digital-music download service to compete with Apple’s iTunes, while another iPod killer, SpiralFrog plans to offer free downloads of millions of tracks, legally.

The Amazon MP3 store will allow shoppers to buy and download individual songs or entire albums that can be copied to any device or computer, burned onto CDs and played on most types of PCs and music players, including Apple’s iPod or iPhone. Songs will cost 89-99 cents each and albums will sell for $5.99 to $9.99.

Amazon.com said the new service will include tracks from more than 20,000 record labels and they will be available in the MP3 format without anti-copying programmes known as digital rights management software (DRM).

iTunes was the largest online music store in 2006, with 70% of the market, according to research firm NPD Group. But record companies, such as the giant Universal Music Group which controls 25% of the world music marke, are trying to reduce Apple’s domination of the digital music marketplace by refused to renew a long-term agreements to sell their music on iTunes.

Apple sold more than 3 billion songs since iTunes’s April 2003 debut and the service currently offers more than 5 mln songs, 550 TV shows and 500 movies. On the other hand, as music lovers been getting free music online since the days of Napster, peer-to-peer sites such as Limewire and Bit Torrent are getting more common, but are also deemed in violation of copyright and can expose users to viruses and malware, not to mention poor recordings.

Newcomer SpiralFrog has the support of dozens of music companies, including Universal Music Group and the site offers more than 750,000 songs for free, including popular tracks from U2, Timbaland, Amy Winehouse and others. The only snag is that SpiralFrog tracks cannot be downloaded to iPods, by far the most popular of all portable media players, though downloads can happen to Windows-compatible devices.

Users also have to renew their free subscriptions every month to retain access to the SpiralFrog library, at which time they will also be required to fill out a survey on their music and buying habits. They will have to wait 90 seconds for every download, during which time they will hopefully look at ads which is where SpiralFrog aims to make money.