In the wake of EMI's decision to make its music catalog available without digital rights management protection earlier this year, Amazon announced plans to introduce a music store with "millions" of DRM-free MP3 downloads.
Amazon has now delivered on its promise with the launch of Amazon MP3. The music store's collection of two million songs is available entirely in MP3 format with no digital rights management protection. Songs are encoded at 256Kbps, and most of them are priced from 89 to 99 cents—a clear jab at Apple, which sells its DRM-free songs in 256Kbps AAC format at $1.29 a pop on the iTunes Store.
According to Reuters, Amazon was able to sign deals with both EMI and the Vivendi-owned Universal Music Group, the world's largest record label. As a result, artists in the Amazon MP3 catalog include the likes of Barry White, Bon Jovi, Dashboard Confessional, Eminem, Pink Floyd, The Smashing Pumpkins, and Weezer. Users can download both full albums and individual songs, and a preview option is available via an embedded Flash-based player.
There is bad news for folks in Canada and other countries hoping to take advantage of the sinking dollar to get cheap music, though: Amazon MP3 is U.S.-only for the time being.