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Amazon is known around the globe as an online marketplace where you can buy almost anything. Books, DVDs, computer games, replicas of giant squid. You name it, Amazon probably has it! And now Amazon offer a no-frills music download service at a competitive price.
The most impressive feature of Amazon’s USA download music store is its generosity. This isn’t a money grabbing site that wants to take and take from you without giving anything back. Amazon has regularly changing free music, including albums, and a host of special offers. What we really like about this is that you can listen to a great array of music and it costs you nothing at all. Not a penny! The download software Amazon offers is also free: a small file that essentially keeps track of your downloads and puts them into the right folders on your computer. Simple, easy. It might not have the glamour of other sites out there, but the premise is in the right place. Affordable music that is accessible.
Although Amazon does not offer a monthly downloads package it does organise its music in a number of ways. You can perform an advanced search to find the song you want, or you can browse by genre or cost. Browsing by cost presents some interesting ways to access music because it means that you’re always within budget but might just find something that you hadn’t thought of before. And it’s not a risk downloading this way because you can listen to a 30 second sample of the song to see whether or not it’s your musical cup of tea.
Amazon music isn’t really about providing a mass of services, though it does allow all of its music to be played on a range of devices. Rather than claiming to be everything to everyone it focuses on the songs and allows them to be used elsewhere. That said, of course, since this is Amazon you can easily peruse the other sections of the marketplace to buy a portable music player or new home sound system. But that is your choice, Amazon doesn’t force it down your throat. Its purchase system is simple, too. You just click “buy” on the song or album you want, and then go to the checkout, as you might with any other Amazon purchase.
The music quality is high, as with most downloadable tracks, though it isn’t the best on offer. An interesting feature of the site is that bands and artists can sell their own music through Amazon. This is a bit of a double-edged sword though: it’s great to have that variety on offer and to be one of the first people to discover a band, but inevitably the quality of the tracks isn’t always top notch. This is a difficult business for Amazon as they are trying to encourage musicians to make their work available but equally won’t want to offer substandard tunes to their customers. So to some degree it ought to be applauded as a brave move, but be careful!
Amazon is the economy brand of music download sites. It’s not flashy or exotic but it does what it aims to do: provide decent music at a reasonable price. It cuts through some of the branding nonsense of other sites by not trying to provide a thousand services when others do them better. What is great about Amazon is its willingness to get you involved in listening to music through its promotions and freebies. Definitely worth a shot.
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