To Fight iTunes, Amazon May Offer “Auto Rip” of Purchased CDs

| Rumor

Amazon CD Auto Rip

UPDATE: Amazon has just launched the Auto Rip service, covering both new purchases and previous purchases dating back to 1998 for over 37,000 eligible discs. A new “Auto Rip” icon will appear next to physical CD listings in the store to identify eligibility. [Thanks, Bosco, for letting us know!]

Online retailer, consumer electronics firm, and media giant Amazon is soon expected to announce an “auto rip” service, that will automatically add the tracks from a purchased physical CD to a user’s account on the company’s Cloud Player, which enables online access to a cloud-based library of digital music content, according to sources speaking with CNET at CES in Las Vegas. The move is an effort to both revitalize physical CD purchases as well as increase interest in Amazon’s cloud services.

Current internal plans for the service describe a system in which a user with an Amazon account purchases a physical CD and the content from that CD is then encoded into MP3 format and automatically added to the customer’s Amazon Cloud Drive for access by the Amazon Cloud Player.

Apple currently offers a service similar to the Cloud Player, called iTunes Match. With iTunes Match, a customer adds songs to their iTunes library on Mac or PC, either from ripping physical CDs or importing downloaded content “obtained elsewhere.” The service then scans the files and adds access to them to a user’s digital cloud library or uploads the files to the library if iTunes cannot find a match.

With Amazon’s potential service, the company will take the user ripping process out of the equation for new CD purchases. The company is also considering applying the service to past purchases, which would be a significant undertaking, as Amazon has been selling CDs longer than the iTunes Store has been in operation.

As CNET points out, Amazon’s efforts would be similar to those in the movie industry, where five out of the top six studios are committed to UltraViolet, a shared online digital movie distribution platform. Many studios are including access to an online copy of a film via UltraViolet when the film is purchased physically on DVD or Blu-ray.

In the area of movies, iTunes also stands apart from the crowd by offering its own cloud-based solution, although there is not yet any official way for Apple customers to add physically purchased video content to their cloud library.

Digital distribution has become the primary method of obtaining content for many consumers, but physical content still offers some advantages, including better quality and a built-in backup if later ripped digitally. Amazon’s music store is nowhere near as successful as Apple’s iTunes Store, but pressure from the Seattle-based company may prompt Apple to respond by offering its customers content of better quality (for example, 24bit lossless) or better value through reduced prices.

Teaser graphic made with help from Shutterstock.

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7 Comments Leave Your Own

cjpitt

So…if I buy a music cd for someone else as a gift…we would both get the music? They get the physical cd and I get the ripped copy.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Actually, its live today. And it goes back to all your CD purchases on Amazon since 1998. Very nice. Meanwhile, most of my iTunes purchases since whenever that opened remain locked up in DRM with a hefty ransom set to free them.

mlvezie

As a long-time Amazon CD customer, I can’t tell you how awesome this is!

And cjpitt, on the Introducing page, it says, “Gifts are not eligible for AutoRip” (which makes perfect sense)

Lee Dronick

Do we know which is selling more, CDs or digital downloads?

It has been a long time since I have bought a music CD and then it was usually out of a mark-down bin in Big Lots! or some such place. It has even been longer since I played a music CD at home, or in my auto, other than ripping it into iTunes. Most of the music I buy is via iTunes.

dimeback

Mlvezie- if amazon knows what CDs I kept for myself and which I gave away as gifts, then I’m scared about what else they know lol.

Either way this is awesome, especially considering its retroactive on purchases.  Ill have to check this out

John Dingler, artist

Hi Lee and Jim,
CD sales are down I think. Perhaps music companies are attempting to artificially prop up the CD market by hiring Amazon to provide CDs as if to say, “Hey, See? Amazon is going back in time to promote CDs! Take a trip with Amazon into retro nostalgia. It’s fun.” So music companies are desperately promoting this idea. Something old is truly something new. *S*

mlvezie

Just had a thought—I’ve been buying CDs for years because of the notion that I may want to rip them with a better quality later on down the line. But now I just realized—it won’t be long (and for those whose only computer is one of the new laptops w/o an optical drive, already is) when buying a CD makes as much sense as buying software on a floppy disk.

Having said that, I do still buy CDs (mostly directly from the small independent artist themselves).

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