RealTime IT News

Amazon.com Carries Tunes

Pioneering book retailer Amazon.com turned a new page today with the official announcement that the company has made the leap into the online music sales market.

The Seattle-based operation said its new Amazon.com Music Store will carry over 125,000 music titles at discounted rates up to 40% below list prices.

Amazon.com's foray into the music e-tailing sector pits it against leading companies like CDnow and N2K, as well as up and comers such as K-tel International which recently entered the fray.

While the online music sales sector may appear to be increasingly crowded, some analysts say there's enough room for several leading sites to compete for customer dollars. Internet music sales are projected to rise from about $300 million this year to $2.5 billion in 2002.

The Amazon.com Music Store will provide a "Featured in the Media" area that lists music reviewed on 20 different media outlets, including television, National Public Radio, magazines, and newspapers. An Editors' Essential CDs section offers reviews by music critics, and allows customers to provide feedback on selections.

Listeners will also be able to preview music before making purchases through the store's inventory of over 225,000 song clips compiled from 30,000 CDs. In addition, there is also a substantial bestsellers area, offering 292 bestselling CD lists covering a range of musical genres.

Amazon's searchable database allows music lovers to search by song title, and a "MoodMatcher" takes into consideration a user's (you guessed it) mood to deliver corresponding titles.

Other features include music news and interviews via the "Amazon Delivers" e-mail service, which also provides advance release dates announcing early availability for some CDs.

Amazon.com will likely follow the lead of its competitors in the next few months and look to secure valuable co-marketing arrangements with leading Internet sites.

CDnow has been busy lining up key deals including a $22.5 million alliance with MTV announced on May 20, a $5.5 million agreement with Lycos Bertelsmann signed on April 8, and a separate e-commerce deal with Lycos and Tripod worth $18.5 million also struck in April.