CS and the City Sean Lynch

Why iTunes should be genuinely concerned about Amazon

A proper review of the Amazon music store is en route, but I wanted to separate the review of where it is now and where I think it’s going to be.

Amazon’s not building a music store so much as a platform. All of the elements are now in place to allow anyone to set up a simple music store interface that can be accessed by millions.

  • S3 – Amazon’s “in the cloud” storage service provides storage for any MP3 store owner’s collection.
  • FPS – Amazon’s online payment system geared specifically towards micro transactions let store owners charge as much or as little as they want.
  • MP3 Download Portal – The store front, complete with search, previews, and reviews.

You don’t even need to think of store owners on the scale of labels. A band can simply open up shop on Amazon and start selling their wares to interested fans, right along side the big names without having to reinvent the architecture.

The only stumbling block Amazon may face is the link between the website and the media player application. Amazon’s download manager is a good first step, but it needs to integrate further into all popular media player applications not just iTunes. Winamp, Amarok, Windows Media Player, and Songbird all come to mind. The less the user has to be concerned about the transition from purchase click to listen, the more likely they’ll click at all.

If Amazon positions itself correctly, it could do what so many online music stores before it couldn’t: Actually compete with iTunes.