Amazon MP3 Is Worth A Visit

Amazon MP3

It looks like Apple’s iTunes Store finally has some competition. As has been rumored for some time now, Amazon has released a beta version of Amazon MP3 to the public. Amazon MP3 sells their music in MP3 format using either a 256 kbps variable bit rate or a 256 kbps constant bit rate. According to GigaOM, songs sell for either $0.89 or $0.99, and albums sell for between $5.99 and $9.99. The iTunes Store has DRM free AAC files at 256 kbps, but they cost $1.29 per song. Most of the albums still cost $9.99.

Amazon has a slight advantage as far as price is concerned if you can find the music you want to buy. The selection is still skimpy compared to the iTunes Store, but I’m sure this will change soon enough. I’ve also never been a big fan of how Amazon displays its product information, but it’s not bad enough to turn me away from shopping with them. Apple definitely has the ease of use advantage over Amazon MP3 because everything is contained in the iTunes software although Amazon provides the Amazon MP3 Downloader that will automatically add purchased files to your iTunes library.

Based on the beta version of the store, Amazon has a very promising product here. Apple will soon find themselves with some work to do to either either lower their prices to match Amazon or prove to consumers why they should pay a $0.30 or $0.40 premium for the DRM free songs. Apple, it’s your move.

Is Wal-Mart Really Afraid of Apple?

So, I was reading MacRumors.com the other day and found their post about Wal-Mart retaliating against Apple to be very disturbing. The post cited a New York Post article claiming that Wal-Mart threatened movie studios so that they wouldn’t sell their movies on the iTunes Store. From what I’ve read about Wal-Mart’s tactics, this does not surprise me one bit.

Personally, I do not buy media from Wal-Mart because of their demands to censor albums and movies. Besides that, I can’t really stand going in to their stores in larger cities because they’re completely trashed. The employees or associates or whatever they call them couldn’t care less about the way the stores look. I wish I could say this is an isolated situation, but I have been in Wal-Mart stores all over the country, and they’re always the same. The only time I’ve enjoyed a trip to one of their stores was when I was in the middle of nowhere in Wisconsin. The people there had pride in their store, and it was a nice experience. Store managers from large cities should go out to these stores out in the country to see how to do their jobs.

Anyway, back to my main point. If Wal-Mart did indeed threaten their suppliers, they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Time to take down the Goliath of Retail and let Apple take over the world (big sinister laugh).