Amazon MP3 not taking users away from iTunes

When Amazon launched its Amazon MP3 online music store last year, the company offered a radically different formula from that of Apple’s iTunes Store: music from all major record labels in high-bitrate, digital-rights-management-free, MP3 format, but with similar (and in some cases lower) pricing than Apple. Surprisingly, News.com quotes a study by market research firm NPD Group that says Amazon MP3 isn’t taking many customers away from the iPod maker’s service.

According to NPD, only 10% of users who purchased music at Amazon MP3 in February were previous iTunes Store customers, despite the fact that Amazon’s MP3 tracks play on Apple’s iPods. Yet even without stealing away Apple’s customer base, NPD says Amazon MP3 eclipsed Wal-Mart to become the number two online vendor of individual music tracks in February.

These numbers are a “healthy indication that the digital music customer pool can expand into new consumer groups who have not yet joined the iTunes community,” NPD concludes. Of course, Amazon still has a long way to go before catching up to Apple—the iTunes Store’s music sales are ten times those of Amazon MP3, NPD adds.

Comments closed
    • NeRve
    • 11 years ago

    I have said it before and I’ll say it again – Apple has a choke-hold on the Music Industry. This company has actually created a hardware product platform that is worth more to the customer than the content itself. This is a complete flip from the hey-day of the Walkman. With Apple’s proprietary DRM, Music Industry has to goto iTunes or “face the music” with DRM-free MP3 (which are compatible with iPods.)

    Thus the DRM that the Music Industry has been in bed with from inception has now reared its ugly head on itself (a double-edge sword as you can say).

    Apple controls the music now, not the Music Industry (Rip, Mix, Burn).

    • nstuff
    • 11 years ago

    I immediately switched to amazon as soon as it was released. I would only buy from itunes sparingly and i would quickly convert them to mp3. Yes, I know i lost quality in the song, but the fact that i can put it in any mp3 player, play it in any software media player is paramount. Which is why I love amazon. Anything you download from amazon requires zero effort and automatically imports into Itunes or Windows Media Player.

    Plus their songs are cheaper.

    I do evangelize to all my friends and none of them have heard of it before. If amazon advertised this, they would significantly increase their marketshare. My guess is part of the deal to put the songs in mp3 format is to not advertise. 😛

    • gerryg
    • 11 years ago

    I buy from Amazon occassionally. iTunes is better with it’s integrated and dedicated focus on music. I still buy a fair amount of stuff (not just music) from Amazon, but their interface just sucks in most cases, and other vendors are much, much better in helping you find or analyze choices in specialized areas, not to mention being less cluttered. If Amazon had a simple and dedicated interface for finding, buying, saving, and archiving music while integrating with software and hardware music players, they’d be, well, a player. But until they do, iTunes rules the roost.

    • BiffStroganoffsky
    • 11 years ago

    That’s a problem with being a late entrant to a fad/craze, you get crumbs.

    I’m going to hazard that most early ipod adopters already have a large collection of tunes that pre-date Amazon’s mp3 service and don’t really see the need in buying it again. They also don’t see an issue with DRM…yet.

    • YeaYuh
    • 11 years ago

    The only real issue I have is it really hard to redownload content. Bought something and my browser screwed up on the download process and had to go through this big hassle. The only way I found to redownload content was to either purchase it again(easiest) or the insane process of contacting customer service and them reactivating the link so you can redownload the file.

    • whtdrgn101
    • 11 years ago

    I totally hear you on that copy gathering dust. I keep hearing the digital movie downloads will replace DVD but I just don’t see it yet. I don’t mind if I loose a 99cent song I got on iTunes, but if I loose the movie I paid 7 dollar for because my hard-drive dies and I can’t get it back, I’ll be ticked.

    I like having the DVD (and now BRD) in my hand. I can loan it to reletives, hang it on the wall, cover it in peanut butter and eat it. None of those I can do with a digital downloaded movie.

    I hardley ever use my Time Warner (5.99 a movie) download. Maybe I’m cheap, but 6 dolars is to much to pay for a movie rental that goes away in 48 hours.

      • Shinare
      • 11 years ago

      redbox.com

        • gerryg
        • 11 years ago

        +1 redbox.com, also Netflix. Go red team!

      • credo
      • 11 years ago

      why are you downloading your media to a standard hard drive any ways? why does any one trust their 10 year hobby collection to a fallible disk? Get a raided NAS. It also prevents you from having to have 23523423 GB in every computer you own… I personally suggest Infrant ReadyNAS (now owned by netgear).

    • SlyFerret
    • 11 years ago

    The Amazon store is only one piece of the puzzle in order to get people to switch from the iTunes store. This news really doesn’t surprise me.

    iTunes is a library, a player management tool, a podcast downloader, and a store. If somebody would roll the Amazon store into an application similar to iTunes, we might have something there.

    Is there an API that the Amarok project could use? How about an iTunes-ish tool from Sandisk that pulls from the Amazon store?

    It’s still early in the game for Amazon. I’m curious to see what happens.

    -SF

    • Shinare
    • 11 years ago

    It probably has something to do with idiots who own ipods not knowing that you can get music elsewhere and play on said ipods. Amazon needs to let them know there are alternatives. I bought an ipod for my idiot daughter (making me an idiot too), everything that comes with it seems to imply that iTunes is the only place you can get music for it.

    • Vrock
    • 11 years ago

    Not too suprising. IMO, the main reason Itunes is popular is because it’s bundled with every Ipod sold. It’s like the “default” music store for tons of people, kind of like how Internet Explorer is so popular.

    It’s not like MP3 listeners care much about quality anyway, if they did they wouldn’t be listening to MP3s. 😛

      • zgirl
      • 11 years ago

      While this is true, it could also be said that they wouldn’t be listening with crappy ear buds either. Since it is also kind of hard to take an acoustically well setup room with you in your pocket. Mp3s and their ilk are hard to beat for portability.

      Though it would be nice if better format with higher quality compression with comparable size was used instead.

      *sigh* what can you do, the masses use what they know.

        • Firestarter
        • 11 years ago

        I think it would be honorable for Amazon to offer OGG and FLAC for example, but for the bottom line it’s probably silly. With contemporary MP3 encoders, the quality is no longer of any concern. The differences between OGG and MP3 have been reduced to bitrate and compatibility, and the bitrate advantage of OGG isn’t compelling enough to override the ubiquitousness of MP3.

        Funny how my own MP3 player supports WMA (which is arguably similar to OGG in terms of bitrate but more widespread), but I never considered using it.

      • ludi
      • 11 years ago

      Uh-oh, we’ve got an audio snob MP3 basher. You do realize your etermal reward will be spent in a clapboard shack with terrible acoustics listening to /[

        • Vrock
        • 11 years ago

        Call it snobbish if you will, but if I can hear a distinct difference between a CD and 128kps MP3s on my stock car stereo speakers (2006 Civic), then that’s a problem. I’m told 256kps tracks are better, but I honestly haven’t tried them. Maybe someday.

          • paulWTAMU
          • 11 years ago

          I can’t tell between the 256k MP3s and CDs, but I’m not a hardcore audio snob either. I can tell (on good speakers) between 128 and CD though.

            • grantmeaname
            • 11 years ago

            My speakers suck, but it’s enough of a difference that I have to rip my mp3s at 192.

            • zgirl
            • 11 years ago

            VBR FTW!!!

            Seriously, quality is much better then 192 and the file size is virtually the same.

            On a decent speakers I can hear the difference between 256 and a CD. 320 is the only thing that fools me.

            • Smurfer2
            • 11 years ago

            Never tried that, however when I have tested things in the past I can tell the difference between 128kbps and CD. However, 192kbps and CD, never tried, however I couldn’t tell the difference between 320 and 192. So 256kbps is more than enough. 🙂

            P.S. Yea, I’m not an audiophile….

            • zgirl
            • 11 years ago

            Never said I was either. I just can hear it. It also doesn’t bother me the trade offs I make for the sake of portability. Usually there is enough ambient noise when out and about that the subtleties of the music will be lost anyway. Not to mention the limitations of headphones or earbuds.

            I just find that encoding with VBR with a minimum of 192 yields really good quality and still keeps sizes very reasonable.

          • Price0331
          • 11 years ago

          Lossless WMA ftw.

    • CLeW
    • 11 years ago

    I’d really like Amazon MP3s to be available here in the UK. I’ve never really got into iTunes purchasing, as I don’t like the idea of DRM possibly biting me in the ass a few years down the line. I have been buying tracks from the smaller DRM-free vendors, like Play.com and TuneTribe, but their selection isn’t exactly huge.

    I still like buying music on CD, where at least I know I have a lossless copy sitting somewhere gathering dust.

    Am I weird??

      • MadManOriginal
      • 11 years ago

      Not at all. I have the benefit of being able to get CDs cheaply through work and I buy lots of CDs and rip them to FLAC. I don’t know if I’d buy CDs at $15 a pop though :/ I haven’t checked for used CD stores around here because I haven’t had to but I’d check that if I did. When I can buy FLACs or other transcodable lossless is when I’ll buy downloadable music. (Yes I know about NIN’s release.)

      Not going to get in to the ‘audio snobbery’ except for saying that when it comes to audio perception, not simply taste, everyone is different, probably more so than any other form of entertainment. Throw varying hardware in to the mix and calling someone a snob or a tin ear is meaningless.

    • paco
    • 11 years ago

    Advertising? ( I haven’t seen any)

    I think if amazon did some advertising then it would probably help change those numbers a lot…

      • b4b2
      • 11 years ago

      Yeah, I found their mp3 downloads by accident. Almost all my friends I’ve told about it had never heard of it.

      I think its a great service though, since I have a non-ipod mp3 player.

      • Smurfer2
      • 11 years ago

      I used itunes after MSN Music shut down because I had to make an account for a gift card I had received. However I have been using Amazon when possible recently because it is everything I want in a digital store. (while Itunes leaves a lot to be desired for me)

      • ssidbroadcast
      • 11 years ago

      Yeah I think some spiffy TV spots that spelled it out for ignorant consumers could do Amazon some real good.

      • paco
      • 11 years ago

      Lol, I just looked at a bottle of Pepsi that I was drinking and saw they were possibly giving away free amazon mp3 downloads. (Yes, it’s a little old ;)).

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