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Is Amazon Finally About to Offer a Digital Music Service?

Posted by: Rob Hof on August 4, 2005

That’s what the blog logically assumes from an interesting job listing posted to its own Digital Media Jobs Blog. (BUT SEE UPDATE BELOW.) The “forthcoming Digital Music Service” referenced in the job posting has been rumored for years now, but Amazon has insisted that it hasn’t been able to ensure a compelling customer experience—presumably because of the reticence of major labels to provide economical, flexible licensing terms.

No word at this late hour from Amazon, which is notoriously tight-lipped about features it hasn’t announced yet. And the job posting implies that not only does Amazon have to make a few hires, but that this “content acquisition manager” will have to take a little time to do some deals with labels. But clearly, it’s a natural step, and one for which it has been preparing. It already offers free MP3 downloads. It’s starting an audiobook store. It has a pretty good system for sampling songs on most CDs. And as it has shown with computing- and storage-intensive services such as Look Inside the Book and its search site A9’s photographic Yellow Pages, it has the most computing resources to tap for such a project this side of Google.

The trick will be offering something even more compelling than the slick iTunes Music Store or promising up-and-comers such as Yahoo!’s new low-cost subscription service.

UPDATE: True to form, Amazon won’t comment. However, combing over the Amazon music pages, I can imagine that the job posting doesn’t necessarily imply a full-fledged music store a la iTunes is imminent. For the short term, at least, it’s possible that Amazon simply intends to expand its current offerings, which also include a “digital locker” in which customers can store both free downloads and those they can get when they preorder many CDs.

Nonetheless, the overriding question of the past couple of years remains: What’s keeping the world’s biggest online retailer from diving into a very obvious market? If you’ve got a clue, please let me know….

Reader Comments

Phantom Poet Graffito

August 4, 2005 10:44 AM

It's about time Amazon joined the natural digital media extenstion party. The entire decision to move fluently and efficiently into the space is a no-brainer; a fly or die scenario. Amazon should not worry about flexible licensing terms from the labels and the backend distributor-handlers: Everybody in the digital music use business gets a parity wholesale deal--they get the "Sound of Literati" always ready to leverage high profile brands through the rugged terrains of digital convergence on multi-distribution platforms. It's nice to know that Amazon will soon be spraying the
spoken spectacular throughout the universe. . .


March 24, 2009 8:24 PM

I think Amazon is a fantastic alternative to iTunes and offers some great features.
We provide unsigned artists with a gateway to selling on Amazon with our digital distribution services.
So new bands check us out, it would be great to work together.


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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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