This past May the peeps at Amazon announced that they were launching their very own online DRM-free MP3 store. The day has finally come, as the next competitor to go up against iTunes is now open to the public. Sure, it doesn't have the easy all-in-one hotness that you'll get from shopping through the iTunes Store and player, but hey, Amazon is offering up high-quality files with none of that digital rights management rubbish.
The good thing about Amazon's store, called AmazonMP3, is that you can play these tracks on any media player. Since they are MP3s rather than other formats that are specific to certain devices, kids with everything from iPods to Zunes can rock these tunes.
Navigating through the site is fairly easy, with genres listed on the left side of the homepage, new albums in the middle, plus top MP3 songs and artists below. Looking though today's top MP3 songs, everything from Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" to Spoon's "The Underdog" is listed, so there is a pretty good variety of music on here.
Out of curiosity, since their catalog boasts more than "2 million songs from more than 180,000 artists represented by over 20,000 major and independent labels," I decided to test it out. A search for Bjork came up rather disappointing, as nearly every track was a live version. No album cuts whatsoever. On the flipside, searching for Arcade Fire brings up plenty of tunes from Funeral and Neon Bible, with tracks costing ninety-nine cents each.
Catherine Wheel brought zero results, but there is plenty of Britpop greatness from Blur and OLD Pulp on there. Silversun Pickups only turns up a remix of "Lazy Eye," and The Smiths are absent from the store as well.
So is AmazonMP3 going to take a big bite out of the iTunes Store? Right now I'd have to say no, but as Amazon continues to add new labels and artists to their catalog, online time will tell.