Amazon’s Online Music Store To Sell MP3’s Only?
According to recent rumors, Amazon is gearing up to offer a MP3 Only Music Store. It has been reported that late last week Amazon began circulating contracts to the major labels and independents to create the store for a mid 2007 launch. Amazon has also reportedly given the labels the ability to offer variable pricing.
Amazon’s new store is apparently telling labels that they will only sell Digital Rights Management (DRM) free MP3’s and will offer variable pricing. Although the MP3s may be DRM free, they may include watermarkting technology.
As the first major download store launch since Microsoft made it clear with ZUNE that it was not supporting it’s own PlayForSure DRM, perhaps Amazon was left with no choice. Yahoo! Music, Napster, URGE and others based on PlayForSure are starting to look like forgotten step-children. Only eMusic has gained real momentum against the iTunes juggarnaut and eMusic sells mp3’s.
Industry watchers began to speculate about Amazon’s foray into music downloads when it hired former Dimensional staffer Scott Ambrose Reilly, responsible for many of the early deals made by Dimensional owned eMusic and The Orchard. The recent label approaches seem to confirm that Ambrose Reilly is at least partially behind Amazon’s initiative.
It is unclear what labels will be included at Amazon’s launch, but many of the majors seem to be ready to jump into the waters after several selective free MP3 experiments. Most indies will probably jump on board since many are already offering MP3’s via eMusic and the new Insound MP3 album-only store.