If you have purchased a music CD from Amazon in the last 15 years (and you live in the US, sorry), you may be getting an email soon saying you have access to a digital version thanks to their new AutoRip service.
The music will be in MP3 format at 256 Kbps, and currently is roughly at 50,000 songs, but growing. The digital files will be added to your Amazon Cloud Player account; from there you can download them to your PC of choice.
There are, of course, restrictions. First, obviously this is a new service. Did you think they’d have EVERYTHING digitized? Of course not. So they should show up in your account as they get added to Amazon’s servers. Second, items purchased as gifts don’t qualify. Ok, I can understand that: they’d be selling 1 copy to 2 people. An easy work around should be obvious, but I won’t mention or endorse it. Third, if you return the CD, you’ll still be credited the amount of the CD, but if you’ve downloaded any of the digital content you will be considered to have bought the digital item & your credit card (or what ever payment method you have with Amazon) will be charged that price. That’s fair, imnho.
There a couple of things to pass on from the comments forums for this service.
1) There is already a WP8 thread. Add your “yes,please” and maybe we’ll get a native app.
2) Someone asked about vinyl. Although nothing is said specifically by Amazon regarding records, one commenter does say that they bought a vinyl album and the digital version DID appear in his/her Cloud Player. So audiophiles take heart!
3) Yes, it’s the 50 states + DC only at the moment. Music is regulated differently in different countries, and I suspect Amazon would have to negotiate separately with the music distributors in each country.
Okay, cost. The basic free service gives you all Amazon MP3 purchases and up to 250 imported songs. Upgrade to Cloud Player Premium for $24.99/year to increase your imported songs to 250,000.
I may have just changed how I buy physical CDs. ER, if I still had the disposable income to do so. But this will definitely play a factor in how I do so in the future. How about you? Is this a potential game-changer?