Looks like the rumors are true, Amazon has officially announced its plans to start an online music store later this year with “millions of songs” and the same major label offering (EMI) as Apple. The news comes only a month and a half after Apple announced its DRM-free agreement with EMI. The biggest difference being that Amazon appears to be sticking with the all or nothing mentality rumored earlier: all songs will be DRM-free and MP3.
Apple still sells most of its catalog with DRM and even the DRM-free tracks won’t necessarily work on non-Apple music players, as the format Apple uses is AAC. Since the Apple announcement, many MP3 player
manufacturers have yet to release firmware updates to make the Apple news attractive to the non-iPod crowd. Thus, Amazon has the potential to be a real contender just by offering all its music in the more widely accessible MP3 format.
“Our MP3-only strategy means all the music that customers buy on Amazon is always DRM-free and plays on any device,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and CEO. “We’re excited to have EMI joining us in this effort and look forward to offering our customers MP3s from amazing artists like Coldplay, Norah Jones and Joss Stone.”
No word yet on the pricing model. That news is expected to come later this year with the actual launch of the new service. And if Amazon undercuts the $1.29 DRM-free Apple price by even a few cents… things could get even more interesting in the online music scene.