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Audio and music software Reviews
15,611 Reviews

Amazon MP3 review

Free

Manufacturer: Amazon

Our Rating: We rate this 4.5 out of 5

The Amazon MP3 music store is a real rival to Apple's iTunes Music Store, beating it on price and freedom.

The Amazon MP3 music store is a real rival to Apple's iTunes Music Store, beating it on price and freedom.

Amazon MP3: Interface and design

It's hard to see how iTunes' convenience can be bettered, and AmazonMP3 is clunkier in its navigation and search - not that iTunes isn't without its annoying idiosyncrasies.

You can browse by price or genre from the MP3 homepage, check out the current top downloads or new and future releases, and search for songs, albums or artists using a standard search box at the top of any Amazon MP3 page.

Amazon MP3 home

Apple iTunes home

You need to download the Amazon MP3 Downloader application, and this can work directly with iTunes - but it's clearly slightly more effort than iTunes' seamless download and store functionality. Album information and artwork are all included, just as with iTunes.

Amazon MP3 buy

Amazon MP3 preview

Amazon MP3 shares the basics that iTunes has pioneered, such as offering 30-second extracts of songs to listen to before you buy.

It also includes customer reviews, and has the advantage over iTunes in that it calls upon user reviews from its well-established CD sales service.

Amazon MP3 Downloader

Content

From a content point of view, obviously iTunes offers much more than just music: podcasts, TV shows, movies to buy and rent, music videos, etc. And it does appear to carry more music than AmazonMP3 currently does.

At the time of writing Amazon MP3, for instance doesn't offer Sweden's excellent The Embassy or Danish band Efterklang. iTunes has far more depth than Amazon, which is more interested in larger, popular artists.

Neither store features music by digital refuseniks The Beatles or AC/DC

Amazon MP3 Expert Verdict »
Internet connection
sound card
  • Ease of Use: We give this item 7 of 10 for ease of use
  • Features: We give this item 7 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 9 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 9 of 10 overall

While iTunes currently offers a greater depth of music - as well as movies and TV shows - Amazon MP3 is pretty certain to catch up. Its prices are erratic but I couldn't find one album there that was cheaper in iTunes (UPDATE: there are a few out there). Now that Apple has followed suit with higher quality and no DRM restrictions there's not much in it apart from price and convenience - unless you want to play the music via something other than an iPod or iPhone. As some of the savings are dramatic, even on new releases, Amazon MP3 must be a compelling alternative even for long-term, heavy iTunes users like me. iTunes works more seamlessly and is nicer to navigate but the price difference of Amazon MP3 had me converted almost immediately.

There are currently no price comparisons for this product.
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