Amazon.com Adds “AutoRip” – Instant MP3 Downloads of Purchased CDs

Amazon Cloud PlayerToday, Amazon.com announced the launch of its new “AutoRip” service, which will instantly deliver MP3 versions of the songs of a physical CD that you purchase from the site. The MP3s will be available instantly in Amazon’s Cloud Player, which can be accessed via any web browser, smartphone, or tablet for streaming and the actual MP3 files can be copied directly to your computer. In the case of pre-orders, the MP3 files will be made available on the release date (presumably right at midnight).

Unfortunately, only certain albums qualify for it right now with more to be added in the future. The interesting thing is that any CD you’ve purchased going all the way back to 1998 will be automatically added to your Cloud Player. Looking at the available list of AutoRip CDs, it seems to have a heavy leaning towards mainstream pop music, and in my case only one song from one album was retroactively added for me (see image above). I’m not sure how only one song from one album could qualify, but it could be that mine just hasn’t updated. Since it goes back to 1998 I also am certain I have purchases that I’ve used different email addresses for though, and I’m sure there’s no way to have those tracks added.

Another thing I’m interested to see is how they will deal with people abusing the system. I’ve already seen people discussing online how they purchase the CD, copy the MP3 files to their computer, and then subsequently cancel the order before it ships. The songs would be removed from the Cloud Player, but if they’re already copied Amazon can’t take them back. In addition, if you buy a CD to give to someone else, now you have an instant digital copy. Some people could buy a CD, get the digital copy, and take the still unopened CD to a local music store and pawn it for a slightly higher price. All of these scenarios I’m sure have already been considered though.

So with this new feature added, could this sway your decisions on where and how to buy your music? In some cases, buying the physical CD with the instant download could be cheaper than just the standard digital download price on iTunes. Or with Spotify and other streaming services is this too little too late?