Amazon takes on Apple in song price war

In a latest bid to take away users from the dominant iTunes in the digital song business, Amazon has stepped up to the plate in an all out price war against its competitor.

The online retail giant, Amazon, most known for online merchandise like Books, DVD's, CD's, Phones, and even its very own Kindle, a portable electronic book that users can download and read off of it, is finally stepping up its digital music sector. Amazon previously opened its digital MP3 which opened late September 2007 is dropping its prices to bring in users from all over.

Current songs from artists such as Lady GaGa are selling for as much as $1.29 on iTunes (encoded as DRM-free 256kbps AAC), and only $0.99 (encoded as DRM-free 256kbps VBR MP3) on AmazonMP3.com. Both retailers are selling their songs at near equal quality. Some albums can be found for nearly half the price on AmazonMP3.com compared to iTunes music store.


(image courtesy of engadget.com)

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23 Comments

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I feel sorry for the fools that buy from iTunes, previously paying more for cripppled (DRM) low quality (192kbps) MP3's than the CD cost, now they've had to increase quality to compete against the likes of Amazon (and Play.com in the UK), they've had to increase the price!

Madness, why not just buy the CD, it's cheaper, free delivery from most online retailers and you can make your own high quality MP3's.

Then again, I guess most just ever play music on an iPod which isn't Hi-Fi quality compared to other PMP's, and as for the quality of the Apple ear buds... well.

I hear ya. This is the only reason I don't buy music online. They charge me close to what I'd pay for CD version for compressed audio? No thanks.

Once these online music stores start selling lossless formats, I'm on board. Until then, I'll buy CDs and listen to free music.

garlandchaos said,
Switch to FLAC, then I'll be interested.

Indeed. Then if we need mp3s, or whatever, we can convert ourselves.

Yeah, go figure - I've never understood spending MORE money on a low quality MP3 when CD quality is available at a lower cost, and you get some nice artwork thrown in! ... plus you can make your crappy MP3's (or decent FLAC or Ogg Vorbis) straight from the CD anyway.

buy from amazon. save urself some cents. Itunes might be easier, but we might get apple to lower their prices and match amazon's.

Julius Caro said,
I'm with amazon here. The itunes domination has to end.

Not really, as long as the ipod maintain's it domaniance.

Heh. There's no domination. Like many others I buy mostly CDs and make my own "DRM-free" MP3's. And if I need a single there's Puretracks.

iTunes has only imprisoned those who choose to be. But even then, if you want out it's a simple (but time consuming) task to get your music out of iTunes and into something better.

Agreed, the RIAA, is not out to help the consumer, they are trying to make consumers leave Apple and purchase music elsewhere, but the end result is that after a period of time, every music download store including Amazon will have tier pricing. This is just the beginning. The RIAA doesn't understand anything except for greed.

If you're in the UK, the best place is probably Play.com. They sell most songs for 65p a track, which is a lot better than iTunes' 79p a track, which is going up soon.

Just checked Amazon's site. The new Rascal Flatts CD Unstoppable is only $4.99 for the MP3 download. It looks like Amazon has different "special of the day" releases and a whole section for $4.99 and under.

Apple is notorious for over-pricing practically everything. Glad Amazon is fighting back, as well as Microsoft with it's Zune subscription service that is actually very good now that subscribers can keep 10 songs a month forever. Also, the Zune service allows for easy re-downloading of my library in the event of a catasrophic hard-drive failure. Apple, why you make it so hard to do this?

Apple doesn't make the music that they sell, and they only have so much control over the pricing. When they introduced the 99 cents per track concept it was practically revolutionary - and the record labels (that is, the companies selling the music through the iTunes Music Store) hated it. Practically every week you'd read about how Apple was fighting with a record label about the price. The record labels wanted a higher price, and they would threaten to remove all of their songs from the iTMS unless Apple complied. At that time, Apple was largely the only online music vendor with a working business model, and the record labels didn't get their way.

The variable pricing of songs (which includes making new songs $1.29) is something that the record labels have wanted for a very, very long time. In fact, they'd probably like the price to be much higher than that. If news sources are to be believed, Amazon's bursting onto the online music distribution market with prices even lower than the iTMS was due to contracts that the record labels allowed as a form of revenge against Apple for not playing nice with the prices. That is, by allowing Amazon to sell for ultra-cheap, Apple's market share would be eroded (at least initially). The record labels could always demand higher prices from everyone else later - the damage would still be done to Apple.

TL;DR: whether you're an Apple hater, fanboy, or neutral, recognize their contribution to music distribution and pricing, and recognize that the record labels are virtually always to blame for price hikes on the music.

Ledgem said,
Apple doesn't make the music that they sell, and they only have so much control over the pricing. When they introduced the 99 cents per track concept it was practically revolutionary - and the record labels (that is, the companies selling the music through the iTunes Music Store) hated it. Practically every week you'd read about how Apple was fighting with a record label about the price. The record labels wanted a higher price, and they would threaten to remove all of their songs from the iTMS unless Apple complied. At that time, Apple was largely the only online music vendor with a working business model, and the record labels didn't get their way.

The variable pricing of songs (which includes making new songs $1.29) is something that the record labels have wanted for a very, very long time. In fact, they'd probably like the price to be much higher than that. If news sources are to be believed, Amazon's bursting onto the online music distribution market with prices even lower than the iTMS was due to contracts that the record labels allowed as a form of revenge against Apple for not playing nice with the prices. That is, by allowing Amazon to sell for ultra-cheap, Apple's market share would be eroded (at least initially). The record labels could always demand higher prices from everyone else later - the damage would still be done to Apple.

TL;DR: whether you're an Apple hater, fanboy, or neutral, recognize their contribution to music distribution and pricing, and recognize that the record labels are virtually always to blame for price hikes on the music.


The Zune service also doesn't let you buy a single song. Last time i checked you need to buy 400 points minimum and the songs are 79 points.

This means you can buy 5 song for 395 points. You can't do nothing with the last 5 points remaining. So you got those 5 points standing there and you feel like you need to buy more points to spend those 5 points.

Same crap as XBox Live Market place where you ALWAYS have some points you can't spend in your account.

For me the perfect Online Music Store needs to

- be avalaible from a browser and not require the installation of any software.
- let me download songs DRM free
- let me download CD quality MP3, WMA, AAC, ... for 0.99$

Yea its not Apple's fault for any of the pricing in the iTunes Store. They fight for it to be cheaper but these greedy studios want more for the work they don't actually do. I'm surprised so many tracks are selling for 1.29 though. I assumed it would only be several not the bulk of the album. That really puts me off, hopefully Amazon will open its doors to Canada soon.