Amazon is Now Providing CD-Buyers with Cloud-Based MP3s for Free
If you’ve bought any CDs from Amazon at any point over the last 15 years — which I’m guessing is most everyone reading this — then every single track from every one of those CD purchases has just automatically been uploaded to your Amazon cloud as an MP3. For free. Right now, the MP3s are already there in your account; go and see for yourself!
Any MP3s you’ve downloaded from Amazon in the past (including any of the 373 metal albums currently on sale for just $5!) have been uploaded to your cloud as well. Any future CD or MP3 purchases you make from Amazon will automagically be added too. The bit quality is a respectable 256kbps.
The service is called AutoRip, and is presumably a play by Amazon to get users accustomed to using their cloud music service. Since the MP3s will be instantly available while you wait a few days for that CD you just ordered to arrive at your doorstep, it also presumably represents a push to steer traffic to the MP3 store by showing those music fans still stubbornly stuck on CDs just how convient MP3s are.
“Big whoop,” I hear you say, “If I want MP3s of CDs I already own I can just rip them to my computer.” And this is true. But with AutoRip and Amazon Cloud you can access your music collection from anywhere without having to carry anything around, whether it be from home, a friend’s computer, your iPhone, Android, iPad, Kindle, etc. Pretty neat. And let’s be honest, are you really going to spend time ripping all the CDs you bought on Amazon in 1998 and uploading them to the cloud? I doubt it.
This is just the latest step in the complete digitization of music and feels like an in-between phase in the eventual move from file ownership to streaming services. Get users comfortable with the idea of streaming their music library, then get them to give up on file ownership entirely. Chime in with your thoughts below.