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U2 at Amazon: I’ve only just found what I’m looking for

I've become a big fan of Amazon's iTunes Music Store killer Amazon MP3.

Initially it offered better compression (ie. higher quality audio), less DRM limitations and much wider device compatibility than Apple's iTunes.

A month or so after launch Apple responded by dropping DRM and increasing quality to an equal level.

But iTunes remained more expensive - not always, but often enough for me to check Amazon first before purchasing any music from iTunes.

In my Amazon MP3 review I did state that iTunes wins on user experience and volume of content, and this remains the case today.

However, Amazon is still often cheaper than iTunes and my loyalty to Apple has been strained by Apple's clear lack of loyalty to long-term customers such as myself.

I was alerted by a US friend via Twitter that U2's new album ‘No Line On The Horizon' was selling for $3.99 on Amazon MP3.

Now I'm not a big U2 fan. Indeed they all annoy me a lot, but I must admit that they can at times turn out a good tune.

$4 for the new album is almost crazy to turn down if there's a chance it could be great - and Q magazine gave the album 5 stars. Worth a punt, probably, then.

I knew it would be more expensive on the UK Amazon store. It's just inevitable.

So I went looking to see if Amazon was as generous to its UK customers as it is with its US people.

I tapped in U2 into the Amazon search bar, after selecting MP3 Downloads from the drop down.

There's five covers on the search page - including the new single. But no new album.

Then I had to click on U2 in another list at the top, in case my initial search for U2 was in fact for "Passengers (Brian Eno/U2)" or "U2, Willie Nelson, Mickey Raphael".

No, it was U2 I was looking for.

So next page gives me 25 more covers. Still no new album.

I therefore have to click on a tiny tinted link at the bottom: "See all albums by artist (103)".

OK, this is getting boring. Not as boring as Bono, The Edge and the other two, but boring enough.

Click.

24 U2 albums and singles covers appear. Still no new album.

Click page 2.

Albums 25-48 appear. No new album.

This is now as boring as Bono press event at a G8 conference. At this rate I'll still be looking on Sunday - Bloody Sunday.

Click Page 3. Albums 49-72. The tune to ‘You will follow' starts off in my mind.

Yeah, there it is at number 61 (see below), after "We Will Follow: A Tribute to U2" by Various Artists and "Acoustic Tribute To U2 Joshua Tree The Demos" by Jamestowne. At least it was before "Punk Tribute to U2, O-Zone, Haiducii and Ourselves" by Total.

U2 on Amazon MP3

Unbelievable. Limewire's quicker than this - and £4.50 cheaper...

Now I fire up Apple's iTunes. There bang at the top is a link for U2's new album. As Steve Jobs would say: Boom.

U2 on iTunes

OK, it costs £7.99 at iTunes, but it's almost worth sticking with iTunes for the conevenience.

Amazon MP3 remains the price king but its store layout and user interface really do suck. Mysterious ways indeed.

iTunes remains the sweetest thing, after all.

(And I was so annoyed that I lost my enthusiasm for trying out the new album... Anyone out there know if I should bother?)

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