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Amazon preps iPod/iTunes rival

updated 09:15 am EST, Thu February 16, 2006

Amazon takes on iTunes

Internet retailer Amazon is prepping a digital music service (subscription required) to rival music ecosystem that it hopes will help it take on Apple's industry leading music player and music store. Amazon is advanced talks with the four global music companies about a digital-music service with a range of features designed to set it apart, according to The Wall Street Journal. The report says that it is working to develop its own branded portable media players that are specifically designed and built for the retailer as well as a "subscription service that would deeply discount and preload those devices with songs, not unlike mobile phones that are included with subscription plans as part of the deal." Music labels are hoping that Amazon's massive customer may base will help it succeed, in the face of Apple's virtual dominance of the digital market. The pending offering could jeapordize the status of Amazon as an Apple reseller who sells iPods and other Macs. Amazon sells about 10% of all digital music players in the U.S., according to the report.

by MacNN Staff



  1. t_hah

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I don't get it...

    Why are the music labels trying to kill Apple? Apple is the one who helped them limit the illegal downloads. Apple helped them somewhat put a stop to music sharing, and they want to kill them?

    Why don't we all just go back to downloading songs from the internet for free and s**** all the music companies... they will never be happy. They will always want more money, but what do they really do for money? Nothing, other than make an artist sign a contract with THEM.

    They are the middle man. Why don't the artists just go directly to us customers?

  1. Daveecee

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: i don't get it...

    It's called business, t_hah. You see, companies want to make money, and sometimes (all the time) that means competing with other companies.

  1. TheBum

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Subscription model

    Amazon still doesn't "get it". iTMS has proved time and time again that most people prefer to own their music, not be tied to a subscription. This is probably not going to be competition for iTMS as much as it will be competition for all the other subscription services.

  1. beverson

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: i don't get it...

    A label isn't going to refuse to sell its CDs to Target because they're selling really well at Best Buy. The label wants to sell them both places. The label doesn't owe Best Buy anything. The label knows that the demand for the music is great enough that they should sell the CDs almost wherever they can and let the retailers worry about competition.

    I definitely want Apple/iTunes to continue to succeed. I think subscription models are probably not viable long-term (though what do I know?). I don't like the labels and rarely come to their defense. But really, c'mon t_hah.

  1. unclelar

    Joined: Dec 1969


    back in the day..

    I grstarted buying music in an era when we purchased 45's. We would buy the A side, get some questionable song on the B side. Occasionally, we would buy an album. What's the difference? Also, with iTunes the record companies have no manufacturing and distribution costs.

    Then of course, most guys in the music management industry are talentless musician wanna be's with no business sense either.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: subscription model

    Amazon still doesn't "get it". iTMS has proved time and time again that most people prefer to own their music, not be tied to a subscription. This is probably not going to be competition for iTMS as much as it will be competition for all the other subscription services.

    No, iTMS has proved nothing of the sort. Just because people buy from iTMS, and perhaps more do than use all other services combined, is not proof.

    To be able to actually prove this, you would need one of two things to happen.

    1) Apple to offer their own subscription service. Have said service work on the iPod. Have said service work as easily and painlessly as using iTunes with your music now.

    See if said service fail miserably.

    or 2) A new music player that works with subscription services from Napster, etc, hits the market and basically becomes the 'next iPod' and the actual 'iPod killer' we've been hearing about. This player becomes a huge seller, and gets 60-80% of the entire market (yes, even to the point of those people stupid enough to buy the now-lame iPod are tossing them into the trash and buying these).

    At the same time, Napster or one of the others (maybe Amazon!) develop a program that works with the music player and their associated store, so that buying or downloading music via subscription model, managing music, and loading it up on that new killer MP3 player is as easy to do as iTunes.

    Now, with all of that, then watch people still flock to buy music and not subscribe, and see said subscription services still fail miserably.

    Either of these things would be proof. But saying that just because people don't do it means its failed is a horrible miscalculation. It could be just that there's no way to use it with their iPod, or its a pain to get music and load it up on the player. Lot's of reasons can cause something to not succeed.

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What I don't get...

    Is why the media refers to any new digital music sales model as 'competing with iTunes' -- if it doesnt play or work on the iPod, and is based on Windows media, then all it really does is compete with the other WMA stores - which is essentially taking care of killing Apple's competition through internecine wars.

    Given that angle, I say, let them keep doing what they are doing, but stop misreporting what's happening.

    Then again, headlines like "Yet another music store brings competitions to the minuscule 15% of the market" certainly does not sell as well.

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