Amazon’s AutoRip music service is a clever ploy to migrate more music lovers to the cloud

11 Jan 2013

In a blend of technological nous and savvy online marketing, Amazon has turbo-charged its CD business with a new service called AutoRip that gives music buyers free MP3 versions of the CDs they’ve purchased online. But is it really helping its CD business or is it a clever ploy to bring entire generations of music lovers into the cloud?

When Amazon customers buy AutoRip-compatible CDs, the MP3 versions are automatically added to their Cloud Player libraries and they can listen to them or download them free of charge.

In effect, if a buyer pays for a CD they no longer have to wait for the package to arrive by courier – the music is there to be listened to.

MP3 versions of AutoRip CDs that customers purchased since the launch of Amazon’s music store in 1998 will be delivered to their Cloud Player libraries for free.

The music can then be played instantly from any web browser or smart device, such as Android smartphones or tablets, iPhones, iPod touch devices, Samsung TVs, and on Roku and Sonos services.

The songs are stored for free and won’t count against Cloud Player storage limits.

It is understood that more than 50,000 albums from most record labels are available for AutoRip.

But is this an attempt to regenerate Amazon’s CD division or a clever ploy to migrate old-fashioned music buyers to cloud services?

We’ll go with the ploy to migrate music lovers to the cloud angle.

“What would you say if you bought music CDs from a company 15 years ago, and then 15 years later that company licensed the rights from the record companies to give you the MP3 versions of those CDs … and then to top it off, did that for you automatically and for free?” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO.

“Well, starting today, it’s available to all of our customers – past, present, and future – at no cost. We love these opportunities to do something unexpected for our customers.”

I’d say Bezos is also gleefully planning the layout of the tapestry of digital entertainment for the next 15 years.

He might just have pulled something of a masterstroke in that regard.

Cello image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years