I really like Amazon.com's new MP3 Download Site. I'm not sure that they have the same breadth of selection that iTunes does, but it does have several advantages over the iTunes Music Store:
- All songs are DRM-free*
- All songs are in MP3 format - an open format
- many songs are only 89 cents - it's 10 cents cheaper, but I'll take it!
It's kind of interesting how the site works. First, I downloaded some Amazon download client onto my Mac. This program associated itself with the extension ".amz." I browsed for a while and found a song I wanted onto the website. I clicked "download" and paid my $.89. After paying, I was taken to the download page where I was prompted with the "Open/Save" dialog for an amz file. I clicked "Open" on Amazon's advice and it launched the download application that I had installed earlier. It downloaded the mp3 copy of the song I wanted and dropped it right into my iTunes library.
I would love to know how this works. What is the amz file? Is it some kind of token that says that I have paid and which file to download? Let me know, if you know!
Anyway, back to the point: I like the Amazon download service and I will probably start to use it exclusively because I love the idea of the distribution of DRM-free music in an open, non-proprietary format.
* DRM - digital rights management. This is a generic term of any technology that limits your abilities to interact with a file based on copyright or other intellectual property laws. An example is the format that the iTunes Music Store uses. It will only allow you to copy a song to so many computers, etc.