Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Best New $0.69 MP3 Songs for your Kindle or other mp3 player - Update2

Amazon recently lowered the price of several popular songs to $0.69, and it happens that these songs are still $1.29 on iTunes..

Update - Commenter Ross just reported that these downloads are restricted to the U.S., which I didn't know.  Apologies for not having warned those outside the U.S., then, who must be getting more frustrated over the geo/location situation with each new blog entry.

Update2 - Commenter mashadutoit writes: "What makes the amazon mp3 limitation doubly frustrating is that they allow you to go through the whole process of downloading their MP3 downloading software, and only when you try to use it right at the end do you get a message that this service is only available to US customers. :( "

  That is especially thoughtless of Amazon.   The only possible upside I can see in their allowing people to download the software with high hopes before they find out they're not even allowed to use it is that perhaps this is because they intend to find a way to enable mp3 downloads someday if they can get agreements with the music publishers internationally.  I have no idea though.
  If anyone at Amazon is reading, I hope you will say something somewhere about this double frustration for non-US residents.

Computerworld's Ed Oswald writes, "It's not clear as to whether the price drop was a blessing from the music labels, or if Amazon has decided to take a profit hit in the name of gaining market share.  It's no secret that some music industry execs would like to limit iTunes' clout in digital music, and may have given more favorable terms to competitors.
. . .
  These days, the $1.29 price point is reserved for special content (the Beatles catalog for example) or best-selling tracks from major artists.  But with Amazon now apparently undercutting iTunes by nearly half, Apple may be forced to answer back.

Some of the songs at 69 cents are, Oswald notes:
  Lady Gaga's hit "Born This Way" and "Judas," Taio Cruz's "Dynamite," Cee Lo Green's "Forget You," and The Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling."

Check the list of $0.69 top songs at any time.  There are currently 204 of them.
  Some of them will of course also be found in the "Bestsellers in MP3" page, which has the "Top 100 Paid" songs alongside the "Top 100 Free songs."

Remember that the Kindle has a 'music' folder which allows the playing of mp3's (as background music while reading) over the not-very-loud Kindle speakers or via headphones.  But these mp3's play only in the order they are placed on the Kindle (or randomly on the original 2007 Kindle), although a favorite or two can be put in the 'Audible' folder which allows them to be Selected -- but you can't read a Kindle book while listening when using the Audible folder.

See the earlier mp3's on Kindle section for more information on how the Kindle handles mp3's.

  (The Kindle-edition of this blog can be searched for the words "mp3 files" because the 24 latest blog-articles are kept in each edition.  You can just type "mp3 files" to search the Kindle blog for this when you have it open for reading.)

  Also, if you haven't read about the new Cloud Player, you might also want to check out the first blog article on Amazon's new Cloud storage and music-streaming feature, which provides all Amazon customers with 5 free gigs of storage per year.  There is also a bonus upgrade available in most countries, to 20 free gigs total per year if you buy an mp3 album (there are 99 cent albums).  However, that storage-upgrade isn't available in the 27 countries listed in the table at the bottom of that first blog article.

It'll be interesting to see how well Amazon's lower pricing works out.  When I download an mp3, I can opt to put it into the iTunes library.

Reminder: Amazon is offering a $25 gift certificate with a purchase of one 3G Kindle (limited to one per customer) until Mother's Day.

Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   K3 Special, $114   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
UK-Only: recently published non-classics, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

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  1. That's all well and good, but the drawback is that Amazon restricts these downloads to US customers only.

  2. Ross, thanks for bringing this to our attention. I had not seen that (from here, though it's probably in the fine print descriptions online).

    Music rights, involving multi-publisher rights, on downloads, internationally, are even tougher, from what I've seen sometimes, than with e-books. Sorry I didn't know about the restriction on these and didn't give a warning. I've revised the blog entry to let people know.

  3. Ah - another thing just out of my reach! :)
    What makes the amazon mp3 limitation doubly frustrating is that they allow you to go through the whole process of downloading their MP3 downloading software, and only when you try to use it right at the end do you get a message that this service is only available to US customers. :(

  4. mashadutoit,
    That's indeed doubly frustrating. The only upside I can see is that perhaps they allow it because they intend to find a way to enable mp3 downloads someday if they can get agreements with the music publishers internationally. I will update the blog entry to add your experience though.

  5. You don't need to download the software to be warned about the regional restrictions, simply putting MP3s in your shopping cart and going to the checkout will result in the same warning.

    It is detailed in Amazon's Help section and is nothing unique to them, iTunes is similar. Again, like with ebooks, the music labels control how content is to be distributed to various regions around the globe. There's nothing more a retailer like Amazon would want to do than be able to sell everything to everyone anywhere, but they are prevented from doing so.

    The "Global Village" ain't so global when it comes to licensing.

  6. Vaughan,
    ANY mp3's at all, put into the cart? Or selected ones?

    And I still say that if NONE of the mp3s are downloadable by non-US residents, then, since they know who is choosing to download, the alert should come up Right There.

  7. Hi Andrys,

    As a non-US resident, any MP3 you click the Buy button for goes to a Shopping Cart confirmation screen. When you click Continue from there, you're taken to a screen that then says "Cannot process order." This was the same behaviour on Amazon.co.uk when I last checked it.

    That said, Amazon has put a text banner at the top of their main MP3 section stating the following:

    Please note that AmazonMP3.com is currently only available to US customers.

    So it's now much clearer - if you enter from the main page. Not sure why they don't just deactivate the Buy buttons for non-US residents like they do for Kindle books though...

  8. Vaughn,
    Thanks for that good news about the text banner that has been put at the top of their main MP# section now.

    MUCH better. I guess they pay attention to some of the feedback, as certainly Amazon UK, DE, Italy, and China customers will have been asking about this.

    What you suggest makes too much sense. :-)


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