Amazon: A to B-side

Well looky there, people will buy music on the Internet. Now that Apple is rapidly approaching the sale of the 1 billionth track from the iTMS, it looks like there are going to be some late arrivals to the online music party. It's already a pretty jumpin' get together. Between iTMS, Napster, Rhapsody, some of the smaller players, and some of the dubious players, you'd think all of the angles were covered. Apparently Amazon doesn't think so. Rumor has it that they will launch their own music service this summer.

Amazon has a tough battle ahead. They already have a music store and I already buy a lot of music from them, but it comes on these shiny discs. The stuff that comes in digital form comes from iTMS and Beatport. They can however get some of my digital music dollars, and here is how.

  • Don't make me choose. I don't want to pick between physical and digital. Let me buy the physical disc and instantly get access to the digital files for download.

  • Give me more playback options. Make the music I buy available for playback from the web from any Internet connected computer. You might remember this idea from back in 1999 when MP3.com rose like a rocket and fell just as hard. Here it is, 2006 and we still don't have a stand out solution in this area. People are trying, but no one is winning. Amazon has the marketing power and cash to win.

  • Allow reselling of digital music - Amazon has a well established used sales market. Nearly every product you can buy new, you can buy used. Having the ability to sell back the rights to a digital download would be huge.

  • Better catalog than the rest - I buy a lot of music from Amazon because I can't buy it at my local Best Buy, or on iTMS. If Amazon can make that same catalog available digitally, they might get even more business.

I'll be watching this closely, but I'm not really expecting much. Just take a look at the mess (beta) that is the Google Video Store for my expectations of Amazon's offering.

1 comment:

Jason said...

I don't think you can even include the pile that is Google Video in the list. I have liked some things they have done in the past (Gmail obviously), but Video is a pathetic product, even in their perpetual beta phase.

What protection scheme do you see Amazon utilizing (DRM), and would that make a difference in how successful they can be? I would guess if they have to DRM (likely to gain contracts), and based on their previous free downloads that it will be WMA. That pretty much locks out the iPod and Apple community, which seems like a bad decision.

I'm all for some more online store competition, and I'll look forward to seeing what Bezos comes up with to succeed.