By Alistair Barr
SAN FRANCISCO Jan 10 Amazon.com Inc,
taking aim at Apple's dominant iTunes store, on Thursday
unveiled a service that it hopes will boost digital music sales
and encourage more people to use its Cloud music service.
Amazon launched Amazon AutoRip, which gives customers free
digital versions of music CDs they purchase from the world's
largest Internet retailer.
The digital music files are automatically stored in customer
libraries in remote datacenters run by Amazon, where they are
available to play or download immediately through the company's
Cloud Player service, the company said.
Amazon customers who have bought AutoRip-eligible CDs at any
time since the company started selling discs in 1998 will also
get digital versions of that music stored in their Cloud Player
libraries for free, the company added.
Amazon's MP3 digital music business has been around since
2007, but its market share is less than 15 percent, according to
The NPD Group. Apple Inc's iTunes store is the clear
leader, with over 50 percent of the market.
The move sparked speculation that Amazon may be able to do
the same for books, making Kindle ebook copies of physical
"It would even be profitable for Amazon.com to pay
publishers a subsidy to transition all the books purchased on
Amazon.com to Kindle books," said Scott Devitt, an analyst at
Morgan Stanley. "Having a digital library that is accessible
only on the Kindle platform essentially locks a customer into
the Kindle ecosystem forever.
"If executed, it would possibly be the largest coup in
company history," he added.
An Amazon spokeswoman did not respond to an e-mail seeking
comment on Thursday afternoon about a book version of AutoRip.
More than 50,000 albums are available for AutoRip. Steve
Boom, head of digital music at Amazon, said the company focused
on music that has been the most popular among its customers
during the past 15 years.
Albums include "21" by Adele; "Overexposed" by Maroon 5;
"Dark Side of the Moon" by Pink Floyd and "Thriller" by Michael
Boom declined to estimate how many CDs Amazon expects to
digitize through the new service. However, he noted that the
company has sold hundreds of millions of CDs to millions of
"When we picked those 50,000 titles we focused on having a
substantial majority of our physical CD sales covered," he
added. "People will be exposed to Cloud Player and our digital
music offering, which is a good thing," Boom said. "We want to
take this global."
Amazon is making a bigger push against iTunes now that the
company's Kindle Fire tablets are in more consumers' hands and
its Cloud Player music application is available on a range of
other mobile devices, including Apple's iPhone, iPad and iPod