Amazon has just opened their new Amazon MP3 Store. So far it looks like a promising alternative to iTunes.
1) You can browse songs on the web, no need to download a client like iTunes.
2) The interface is very simple, and works the same way as other parts of Amazon.com.
3) The single song prices are variable.
4) Some bands (Radiohead) only want to sell full albums, with no single downloads available. iTunes doesn't support this, but Amazon does. I really, really like this.
5) No DRM.
6) It's not iTunes.
7) It's an actual STORE. I can buy other things like shoes.
1) They only sell MP3s. I still can't convince myself buying lower quality music is worth the money. When will these stores start selling high quality audio? They could set multiple price points based on quality.
TO BE DETERMINED:
1) What's the price breakdown of a sale? iTunes gets .30 for every .99 cents. Will this be variable? Fixed? Set by the seller, or Amazon?
2) Openness of the system
What I'm hoping happens is that Amazon can open the doors of this system to any Joe that wishes to sell their music on their store, even if they don't have a label. Amazon already lets you stock your independent CD directly with them, so it seems like a natural progression. If, however, they go the route of iTunes and only deal with labels, that will be a mistake and they will broil in the fiery pits of hell.
Open up the goddamn floodgates already!
From someone who has never bought an MP3 in his life, and shuns the concept of third party vendors selling an overpriced, lower quality product, the Amazon store seems interesting.
I'll still always support artists selling directly on their website first. But having fair and decent alternative methods is important too.
To be continued...