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Amazon Music Store VS iTunes


From:http://db.tidbits.com By Adam C. Engst Keyword:Amazon,iTunes

Amazon.com has launched a public beta of Amazon MP3, a digital music store that provides DRM-free downloads of over 2 million songs from 180,000 artists and 20,000 labels. In comparison, Apple says the iTunes Store now contains over 6 million songs.

According to Amazon's press release, most of Amazon MP3's songs are priced between $0.89 and $0.99, with more than 1 million songs in the current catalog available at $0.89, a full $0.40 less than Apple's iTunes Plus songs. Most albums in Amazon MP3 are priced between $5.99 and $9.99, again a bit cheaper than albums in the iTunes Store, which generally check in at $9.99.

All songs in Amazon MP3 are encoded at 256 Kbps, which is comparable to iTunes Plus songs, although in theory, the iTunes Plus AAC format could provide better quality than the MP3 format used by Amazon. Because Amazon is using MP3 and avoiding DRM entirely, songs purchased from Amazon MP3 are playable on any device, including the iPhone and iPods, along with Macs, PCs, and music players from other manufacturers.

Individual tracks can be purchased directly from a Web page, but to buy an album, you must first download and install the Amazon MP3 Downloader, available for both Mac OS X and Windows (a 615K download for the Mac version).

Amazon iTunes Amazon iTunes

In my testing, the Amazon MP3 Downloader worked acceptably, but it was a distinctly clumsier experience than purchasing from iTunes. Clicking a Buy button on the Amazon Web site downloaded a document to my Desktop. I believe the Amazon MP3 Downloader was supposed to open it and download the actual song, but I had to double-click the file manually, likely because Amazon wasn't expecting that I'd be using a browser other than Safari (I generally rely on OmniWeb). Once opened in Amazon MP3 Downloader, the song was downloaded to an Amazon MP3 folder in the Music folder and then sent over to iTunes, which, at least on my machine, means that it was duplicated, since I keep my iTunes Music folder on a server for shared usage.

Songs I purchased were encoded at between 208 Kbps and 256 Kbps using variable bit-rate (VBR) encoding, and the free sample song was encoded at 280 Kbps VBR. Sound quality was certainly fine to my ears, though I'm no audio connoisseur. The metadata was complete and album artwork was either included or picked up automatically by iTunes.


Quick Comparison
  Amazon iTunes
Song quality MP3, encoded at a 256 kbps variable bit rate encoded as AAC files with a bit rate of 128 kbps
Price Tracks $0.89, full albums $8.99 Tracks $0.99, full albums $9.99
Easy of use download a small companion program (works in Windows and Mac), you can reproduce buy a song with one click, it's integrated into your music player(you never have to fiddle with files on your hard drive to get the songs into your iPod)
Selections 2 million songs (EMI and Universal) 6 million songs
Restrict everything is unrestricted, everything will word for ever copy-protection scheme (put your songs on just five computers at a time; make only seven CD copies of a particular playlist), DRM protected

Amazon MP3 is the first online music store that hasn't left me cold. Its advantages are very real:

No DRM. No consumer likes DRM, and although Apple hasn't yet released any statistics on how the DRM-free tracks from EMI have sold in comparison with the DRM-encumbered versions of the same tracks, Amazon has done the right thing by eliminating it across the board. Hopefully Amazon's move will give Apple some leverage with the music labels to make more DRM-free tracks available.

iPod compatibility. Thanks to the lack of DRM, and in particular, Windows-specific DRM, songs purchased from Amazon MP3 will play on an iPod, something that has never been true for a mainstream online music retailer (other than Apple) before.

Low prices. I don't have a sense for how price-conscious the online music market really is, but with many tracks priced below even the cost of Apple's DRM-encumbered tracks, and albums priced even lower, I could see budget-driven consumers or those who buy a lot of music preferring to purchase from Amazon MP3 over the iTunes Store.

1-Click shopping. People do not like creating new accounts for shopping, but there's no question that some people shop from Amazon over other venues purely because it's such a known quantity after years of easy ordering. Ordering via Amazon MP3 isn't as easy as from the iTunes Store, but it's not far off.

I don't think Amazon MP3 will be putting the iTunes Store out of business by any stretch of the imagination. It's competitive, thanks to the lack of DRM, low prices, and ease of shopping, but it's clumsier than using iTunes, and everyone who has an iPod will be using iTunes anyway to sync music, so it's not as though Amazon can ever get as close to the iPod as Apple can. The good news is that by releasing an online music store that doesn't suck, Amazon has given Apple some real competition, and where there's competition, there's innovation.

amazon music


More Reading:

Remove DRM from iTunes: Here we would like to teach you how to remove DRM copy protection from your purchased music.

Remove iTunes Account Info: Lucky for you and me the iTunes account information can be actually removed if you will, click to learn more detailed information about it.

iTunes to Adobe Premiere Pro: This fast tutorial tells you how to remove iTunes DRM protection and put iTunes files to Adobe Premiere Pro files formats.

iTunes to Nexus 10: This article shows you the best way to get music, movies or TV-shows purchased from iTunes to Google Nexus 10 for enjoying anytime and anywhere.

iTunes to Galaxy S4: Here we are glad to provide the best method for transferring iTunes files to Samsung Galaxy S4.

iTunes to Facebook: Do you want to share iTunes videos and music on Facebook? Just follow this article to convert and upload iTunes files onto Facebook.

iTunes to Nexus 7: Here we share you an easy way to transfer DRM-free files and DRM protected files from iTunes to Nexus 7.

iTunes to BlackBerry Curve: Do you know how to download music from iTunes to Blackberry Curve? Don't worry, I can tell you the detailed information.

Convert iTunes to WD TV Live: This tutorial is mainly telling you how to convert iTunes M4V movies to AVI, MP4, MOV, and WMV for streaming to WD TV Live.

Convert iTunes to HTC One: To play iTunes movies and music on HTC One, you need to remove and convert iTunes protected media files for HTC One.

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***Correction, the article did *briefly* touch upon the fact that AAC should theoretically provide better sound quality at a comparable bit rate to MP3, but didn't really give any details as to why this is the case. The main advantages of MP3 were more it's universal support in the earlier days of digital music, since nearly every device contains an MP3 decoder. Nowadays AAC/m4a is essentially supported by nearly all modern devices and players.
This seriously needs to be updated as two major points are wholly inaccurate... 1) iTunes tracks are encoded as *256kbps* AAC in an .m4a wrapper (not 128kbps as incorrectly stated in the above chart). Yes, each individual channel may carry 128kpbs, but in a stereo recording this results in an overall bit rate of 256kbps. Also not mentioned is that AAC is generally considered to be of better sound quality (at the same bit rate) than MP3 (an older, more lossy format). So a 256kbps AAC track from iTunes should theoretically sound better than a 256kbps MP3 track from Amazon. Not showing preference for either store, just pointing out the technical differences in these formats as well as the general consensus among the audio community. 2) iTunes no longer sells DRM tracks, and hasn't done so since 2009 (5 years BEFORE this article was published in 2014). They have since long ago re-encoded their entire library to support this new model, meaning tracks are not limited to the Apple ecosystem and there are no set limits on the number or devices or times the track can be burned. Tracks purchased pre-2009 and still stored on your computer may likely be subject to DRM, but there are ways of "fixing" this and removing the DRM (not sure the actual legality of doing so, or if iTunes has any officially supported method, but it is possible to figure out fairly easily with a quick search).
Oops! The four file values were WAV=49,754KB, FLAC=34,862KB, MP3=11,056KB and MP3/VBR=7,726KB Apologies, the old man needs to take a nap after eating a big dinner, instead of writing long winded tech 'stuff'.
don w.
VBR = Variable Bit Rate. What does that mean? 'variable bit ripoff' It's like watching the Moody Blues with a symphony orchestra behind them. Except, imagine that when the flute is being played, the kettle drum disappears or the percussion drops in and out. Well that's not really what happens, but the analogy is easier to understand than a discussion of the technical degradation of the original music via splitting the signal into multiple bands and software that makes decisions based on audio algorithms. Another analogy is why do cellular phones sound so funky? The carriers have cut back on the quality to make more money and your soft spoken girlfriend's sultry, sweet voice sounds like a hag on the mobile because the bandwidth is about 1/4 the quality of a land line or a good VoIP. We all sound like hags on mobile phones and now they're robbing dead air time from our conversations to make more money. Next time you miss words in a conversation, you might actually be missing those words. Of course, their engineers will argue not so! But now you know the real reason for using VBR. The cost of storage & download is proportional to the size of the digital file plus licensing fees. So listen to the marketing crap if you want to about VBR being a great thing. But storage expense for the end user has been drastically reduced lately, unless you're one of the big boys storing millions of tracks and streaming them to you. So here is an actual example: A major label artist CD-track of 4m33s, I converted the track to a WAVe format, the file size is 48,754-KB (kilobytes) Convert the same CD-track to a loss-less compression FLAC file (NO VBR) and the file size is 34,862-KB; which sounds the same and can recreate the original WAVe and CD files. Next convert to the highest quality MP3 using 48K sample (non-VBR) 320Kbps and the file size will be 11,056MB & the playback quality is excellent even on a Hi-Quality audio system. Lastly, if we convert the WAVe to an MP3 using a 44K sample (& using VBR, between 224Kbps & 256Kbps(level 12 of 14) and (a level 9 low quality VBR) and the file size is 7,736KB To recap. WAVe is 58.7KB FLAC(best compression) is 34.8KB MP3(2nd) is 11.1KB and a high quality VBR is 7.7KB Note that this particular track would probably have been a lower quality file size between 4 & 6KB. The retail cost of an original CD-track is pretty much the same as the poorer quality tracks we're downloading and at $10. a month you can buy you five to ten tracks that are your DRM in WAVE or FLAC file quality. A 64GB sd card can store between 1600 & 2400 FLAC files or 6,000 & 20,000 Hi-quality MP3's. For me it's a no-brainer! Wave, FLAC or the maxium quality available for an MP3. Apple has WAVE files called AIFF and FLAC files labeled ALAC and their AAC's are like MP3's. Be careful out there in cyberspace!
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