The New York Post is reporting that Amazon’s long-delayed digital-music store–which will carry MP3s that are free of copy protection–may, in fact, launch sometime during the week of Sept. 17, although given the project’s lengthy delays up to this point, it also may not. The Post piece also has details on pricing and which labels won’t be participating:
The service is expected to carry somewhere around 1 million tracks at launch, featuring music from Universal Music Group, EMI and a large number of independent labels.
But it will be missing music from two notable sources, Sony BMG and Warner Music Group.
Both companies require retailers to sell downloads with digital locks that discourage piracy – technology known as digital rights management.
Amazon is not supporting the anti-copying technology, and as a result Sony BMG and Warner Music will not be selling downloads through the service – at least initially.
Still to be determined is what Amazon will be charging consumers for songs and albums.
Initial indications from sources suggest that the retailer is keen on keeping prices low in order to best compete with iTunes.
Unlike Apple, which charges 99 cents for songs with DRM and $1.29 for unprotected tracks, Amazon is expected to have at least two prices for individual songs: 99 cents for new and popular MP3s, and 89 cents for music from emerging artists and back catalog tracks.
Albums are expected to cost between $7.99 and $9.99.
Amazon’s proposed prices are reportedly causing friction with the labels, who want to–of course!–charge higher prices for artists they consider “superstars.” Given that the pricing dispute between the entertainment conglomerates and iTunes has resulted in yet another iTunes Store casualty (R.I.P. my season pass to Law & Order: Criminal Intent, it’s hard to not wonder if Amazon will buckle to pressure, if only because it’s already missing catalog from two of the four major-label groups.
LET’S DANCE BABY [NYP]