Amazon MP3 vs. iTunes Music Store

Amazon MP3
iTunes Music Store

Amazon MP3 is an online music store that sells DRM-free songs and albums. It was launched in September 2007.

iTunes is Apple's online music store that was launched in April 2003. Songs are DRM-free.

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Amazon MP3

User Rating (117):

iTunes Music Store

User Rating (95):
Re-download songs purchased before Yes (via Amazon Cloud Player) Yes
Catalog 14.8 million songs 26+ million songs
File format MP3 AAC, MP4
Launched on September 25, 2007 April 28, 2003

Contents: Amazon MP3 vs iTunes Music Store

edit Catalog

Amazon MP3 offers DRM-free downloads of over 2 million songs from 180,000 artists and 20,000 labels. In comparison, Apple says the iTunes Store now contains over 6 million songs.

edit File format and Sound Quality

While Amazon sells songs in the MP3 format with a 256 kbit/s variable bit-rate, iTunes songs are encoded 256 kbit/s AAC streams in an mp4 wrapper, using the .m4a extension.

AAC was devised as the successor to the MP3 standard. It achieves better sound quality than the MP3 format when compared at the same bit-rate [1].

edit Openness

Both Apple and Amazon sell songs without DRM and in open formats, AAC and MP3 respectively. Any music player will play these files.

edit Availability

As of 2011, The Amazon MP3 service is available for consumers in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, and Japan.

iTunes is available in France, Germany, UK, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Holland, Spain, Portugal, Canada, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, Japan, Norway, Australia and New Zealand. See also: Map of iTunes availability

edit Pricing

Between the two services, pricing is more or less the same. Most songs on Amazon MP3 range in from $0.25 to $1.29, with albums priced from as low as $4.99 to as high as $17.49, depending on artist, length of album and whether or not the album is "Deluxe" or "Special". On iTunes, the pricing is approximately the same, though a quick comparison shows that some select songs and albums are more expensive on iTunes, while others are more expensive on Amazon.

Ultimately there's little to no difference.

edit Ease of use with iPod/iPhone

Songs sold by both music stores are compatible with the iPod and iPhone via iTunes, though due to the nature of the iTunes Store's integration within iTunes, it is arguably an easier and more seamless experience.

If you have iTunes installed on your computer, Amazon downloads MP3 files to a location of your choice and also downloads to your iTunes library. If iTunes is not found on a Windows computer, it copies to the Music folder to be played by Windows Media Player instead.

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Comments: Amazon MP3 vs iTunes Music Store

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Anonymous comments (5)

July 18, 2010, 1:47pm

Apple's m4a format is higher quality than mp3.

— 24.✗.✗.102

February 1, 2012, 3:18am

Amazon's bitrates are variable with an average of 256 kbps. I read this on there website today. They don'y tell you ahead of time so who know what quality you'll get.

— 108.✗.✗.118

June 9, 2013, 1:48pm

Forget downloading audiobooks from itunes! I was a loyal downloader until I had some problems and lost my audiobooks! Thank goodness I had them backed up because Apple will let you download everything you may lose again...except audiobooks.
As far as music, I'd still rather have the cd and rip it at lossless.

— 70.✗.✗.34

January 13, 2011, 12:54pm MP3 downloads are still not available outside USA

— 95.✗.✗.215

December 17, 2010, 8:16pm

Amazon have had a UK MP3 store for 2 years mow.

— 86.✗.✗.116


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