Amazon MP3 vs. Apple iTunes

Having a choice is something good. Usually. This seems to be the case with the launch of Amazon’s MP3 music download service. This one of many rivals to Apple’s iTunes is Digital Rights Management (DRM) free but not necessarily as easy to use.

The install includes, if you want it, the downloading of what appears to be an ActiveX control that, on Windows, seem to default to work only with Internet Explorer. As part of this added install, you get to download a free song to test how well things are doing (“Energy” by, now wait for it, the Apples). This control automatically adds your new music to your iTunes play list. This is handy and much appreciated.

However, there are a couple of things that, perhaps, can be worked around but I have yet to figure out how. First, every purchase is made individually. That is, I can’t choose, for example, five different songs and then pay for all five at once. So I end up having five charges to my credit card. Shirley, there must be a way of combining the transactions into one?

The other irritation is that searching for music seems to be based on either the album name or song name. Which is fine except for when you want to look at a specific band’s entire catalog. In addition, at least some of the genre results are album-based, rather than song-based. I don’t know if this is to try to get you to buy an entire album rather than just the one or two songs that don’t suck.

On the upside, the DRM-free music is priced at 89 to 99 cents, as opposed to Apples $1.29USD per song. But Amazon does not yet have the range of music available that Apple does.

The bottom line is, given the price difference and the ease at which the music is added to my iTunes list (and then to my iPhone), but lack of breadth in music, I think I will use Amazon but also continue to use iTunes.



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