Today, Amazon.com launched the public beta of Amazon MP3, an MP3 downloading service featuring DRM-free, high-quality (256 kbps) tracks. I’m very happy to see Amazon entering this market, as it finally gives iTunes a viable competitor, and will hopefully further the proliferation of legal, DRM-free digital music for sale on the Internet. Because these tunes are DRM-free, they can be played on any MP3 player.
At launch, Amazon MP3 had over 2 million tracks available, all of them DRM-free. And, most songs are priced at or below iTunes prices, with most songs priced from 89 to 99 cents and most albums ranging in price from $5.99 to $9.99. Unlike online stores like eMusic, many of the tracks available on Amazon MP3 are from major label artists, including Beastie Boys, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Keith Urban, Nickel Creek, Pink Floyd, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, The Rolling Stones, and many, many more.
John Gruber has posted a nice review of both the Amazon MP3 Store and the Amazon MP3 downloader. The Unofficial Apple Weblog has also posted a review of the Amazon MP3 service.