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Amazon Music Review
Technology should make our lives easier
• Wide selection of music
• Easy to use
• Amazon Cloud Drive Internet storage
• One-click purchase
• Lack of additional features
• Cannot select multiple individual songs on one purchase
The signs are that Amazon Music is poised to become the biggest threat to iTunes’ dominance of music downloads. But right now, it can't compete.
Currently Amazon has a much smaller selection of music to choose from but when you consider that their website has only just launched, its very likely that will change over the coming months. At the time of research there were 15 million songs and around one million albums for your listening pleasure.
First of all, you need an Amazon account to be able to buy music downloads. You also need to be signed up to the 1-Click billing system and have entered a billing address. Setting up an Amazon account is simple. Amazon Music does require that you download the MP3 Downloader program. It’s pretty simple to use.
Searching for songs to download takes place on Amazon’s MP3 section of the website. Search for a title of a song or search for an artist, just like you do on the rest of the Amazon site. You can also browse genres, prices and other subcategories. When you sign in as a returning customer you receive personalized suggestions based on previous purchases. This feature seems a little old-fashioned now when you consider iTunes’ Genius tool, but it can be useful if you’re looking for inspiration on what to buy.
You can preview songs for 30 seconds, before you commit to buying. To preview a whole album, the site plays a sample of all the tracks in order.
When you purchase a track or an album you’ll be asked to set your Amazon delivery preference – download to your computer or download to Cloud Drive. You play your chosen songs on your PC, Mac or any Android device through the Amazon Cloud Drive system and the Amazon Cloud Player. The Cloud Drive is space on the Internet where your purchases go once you’ve made them. You then launch the Amazon Cloud Player to listen to your music, browse through a library of your selections and create playlists. You don’t have unlimited Cloud Drive storage but you can upgrade if you wish, so you can upload more music from your existing music libraries. You can also download music straight to your PC, bypassing the Cloud.
All of Amazon's music is free of DRM and encoded at 256 kps for high sound quality.
If you use iTunes or Windows Media Player, your music can be added automatically to either program. With Amazon Cloud Player you can access your music from eight devices or less. You can hear music on mobile devices, the different computers in your home and from different browsers on one computer.
The purchasing system is not feature-packed and you don’t get much more than a simple, easy to use shopping experience. The Amazon Cloud Drive and the Cloud Player are the most innovative features that Amazon Music offers.
Ease of use
The Amazon Music shopping experience is easy to use, clearly explained and well set-out.
Because the purchase is delivered immediately, when buying music you don’t go through Amazon's standard shopping cart system. Instead Amazon Music uses the 1-Click ordering system for music purchases. You can turn off the 1-Click ordering option for things like books and electronics, but it will always be on for MP3 purchases.
There’s a large amount of information all bunched together on the Amazon Music homepage so it’s a little difficult for the new user to see what they’re looking for if they have a specific question. However, if you’re just looking to buy a song or an album, the process is straightforward.
Help & support
There’s a huge amount of topics in the help center linked to Amazon Music’s homepage. Find what you’re looking for by browsing through the available topics. There is a Contact Us button if you don’t want to look by yourself, although it is not prominently displayed. The customer contact options are by phone and by email and it helps if you are already signed in so the operators can have access to your account to give more personalized help.
Amazon Music feels like a wannabe iTunes sometimes – Cloud Drive and Cloud Player are very similar to the iPlayer function in iTunes. Because it’s second in the listings, the Amazon Music experience doesn’t feel so slick and interesting as the market leader iTunes.
The Amazon Music shopping experience is a simple and straightforward way to download music to your PC or to a storage area on the Internet. When you just want to buy music and you don’t want a computer to tell you what you should be buying, Amazon Music hits the spot. Don’t expect numerous extra features or any social networking, just a well-organized and well-supported download service.
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