If you’ve ever bought a CD from Amazon, you may be about to get a free MP3 version of the album. The company is bundling free digital edition access with physical purchases of around 50,000 titles and is making the offer retroactive.
The service, dubbed AutoRip, will work through Amazon’s Cloud Player service for MP3s. You won’t be able to download the files, but it will be available through any web browser, through applications on Android and iOS devices, or through some smart TVs and set-top boxes. All tracks are in 256 Kbps form.
Any music added in this way doesn’t count towards the existing storage limits on the Cloud Player of 250 songs on the free version and 250,000 songs on a premium version.
In theory, the next time you visit the Cloud Player page, you should automatically be able to play any albums that you’ve bought from Amazon and are among the titles that the company has licensed for AutoRip. That’s not happening for me at the time of writing, though it’s not clear if this is because the CDs I’ve bought have been too obscure, or if the system isn’t working on the UK site yet.
One very picky and admittedly ungrateful point is that the set-up doesn’t take account of cases where people have purchased CDs on another Amazon user’s wishlist as a gift. That said, I do quite like the idea that if my mother ever uses the Cloud Player she’ll be confronted by digital editions of some of my past Christmas gifts.
The system seems to acknowledge that many people who buy a CD will want to rip it to digital file anyway, so this simply cuts out some hassle. It doesn’t seem particularly likely to change many people’s buying habits, but it’s certainly a welcome bonus and should engender some goodwill.