Yes, you’ve read about this somewhere else already. However, I just wanted to provide a little detail on the service as-is. The files are prices at 89Â¢ to 99Â¢ each, and appear to all be 256kbps .mp3 files. Amazon has a small application to help manage downloading the files and adding them to your music database (iTunes or Windows Media Player, apparently); though it’s for Windows XP & Vista
(no mac version, boo!) or Max OS X if you happen to be on that type of machine (I wasn’t when I was trying this out; but yea!). The files you download are .azm, which appears to be just a wrapper around whatever .mp3 files you’ve purchased. I don’t know that the .mp3 files have tag/header information that ties them back to the purchaser, a la iTMS Plus songs. Frankly, I don’t care, either, provided it doesn’t have any data that can lead someone to get into my Amazon account.
The music that is available is fairly impressive. Of course, it’s not as large a catalog as the iTMS has. I was able to find some fairly obscure music (example: Bat for Lashes, who I’ve written about before), though not everything I was looking for. Any CD’s for sale that have downloadable .mp3s now have a link on that CD’s sale page, and vice-versa. I downloaded KT Tunstall’s Drastic Fantastic (which is a great album and I’ve developed a small fanboy-crush on her alreadyâ€¦). Downloads are fairly fast (roughly the same as iTMS) and I used the Amazon download app to place them into iTunes for me. I’ve yet to try this out on the mac and I’ll update as soon as I can (I can only hope that if you don’t use the app, the .amz wrapper isn’t used as I don’t think my mac knows what to do with it).
So far, I have to say that I’m pleased as punch with Amazon’s store. Frankly, even if you don’t use their store, you’ll benefit from what they are doing: helping to pull down DRM just a little more. However, given the competitive pricing and use of more common file format (.mp3 instead of .m4a), I think I’ll use Amazon’s service whenever possible for the near future.
Update: John Gruber has more information and opinions than you could ever want on this over at Daring Fireball.