It may have taken Amazon a few years, but they got it right: their new music store is DRM free and songs, starting at $0.89/track, are cheaper than at Apple’s iTunes. The top 100 best-selling albums are priced no higher than $8.99.
Songs are delivered in MP3 format, meaning they’ll work on any music player, including the iPod. The store opens with 2 million songs from 80,000 artists represented by 20,000 labels. EMI and Universal are on board. The other major labels have no real choice at this point but to follow, and soon.
A software download is required to actually get songs to your hard drive, but it’s available for both Windows and Mac (with Linux coming). That’s good news – DRM requirements forced Amazon to make their movie download service work only with Windows machines.
Average quality is very high – 256 kbps, which is what iTunes uses for non-DRM songs as well.