In an oddly early release, Amazon says it will take its DRM-free music store global in 2008. This is good news for the music industry, which desperately needs a viable competitor to Apple, and it’s good news for music fans, who, in the US, like Amazon’s download offering. Amazon has also recently signed all four major labels, making its store far more competitive, and unlike Apple, Amazon offers all its music without DRM restrictions.
Assuming Amazon can execute a global rollout sooner rather than later, this is also potentially bad news for Apple, which has held a near-monopoly on online music since the launch of the iPod. Apple’s iPod’s sales are slowing rapidly–unit sales missed analysts’ expectations in Q4–and an erosion of iTunes’s dominance of downloads will open the door a crack for hardware competitors.
(Not that Apple has anything to worry about in the near term: As of this writing, on Amazon, 9 of the top 10 bestselling music players are iPods.)
Perhaps it’s Sunday-morning brain fog, but it’s not immediately obvious to us why Amazon would break with its announce-it-when-you-launch-it tradition to issue an airy release like this. Usually it’s the industry leaders who follow this communications strategy–to deter would-be upstarts–and Amazon’s not the leader in this business.
Update: One explanation for Amazon’s early release — an attempt to get Universal Music Group fully committed?
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.