Amazon.com has launched a public beta trial of its much-anticipated music download service.
Amazon MP3 claims to offer "the world's biggest selection of à la carte DRM-free MP3 music downloads."
The service offers more than 2 million songs from 180,000 artists and over 20,000 major and independent labels.
Because the music is sold in DRM-free MP3 format, songs purchased from Amazon MP3 will play on iPods, PCs, Macs, and other portable and desktop platforms.
Bill Carr, Amazon.com vice president for digital music said, "This new digital music service has already been through an extensive private beta, and today we're excited to offer it to our customers as a fully functional public beta. We look forward to receiving feedback from our customers and using their input to refine the service."
A readiness to adopt flexible pricing has clearly helped Amazon reach its distribution deals. Most songs cost between $0.89 to $0.99 per track. The top 100 best-selling songs are $0.89, unless marked otherwise. Most albums are priced from $5.99 to $9.99. The top 100 best-selling albums are $8.99 or less, unless marked otherwise.
Bit rate is better than iTunes. Each song is encoded at 256 kilobits. Songs are purchased using Amazon 1-Click and are automatically added to their iTunes or Windows Media Player libraries.
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