Amazon today officially announced that it will launch an MP3 only digital music store later this year with tracks from more than 12,000 record labels including EMI's entire catalog. Every download on Amazon.com will be available exclusively as MP3's without digital rights management (DRM) which will make them playable across all devices and platforms. It also means that Amazon will be missing some popular major label product.
The EMI agreement follows the major label's launch last month of a new premium DRM free download offering which will debut on iTunes in the AAC format this month.
HYPEBOT EXCLUSIVE: Other details of the Amazon store began emerging this week. While the official announcement says "later this year", sources tell us that Amazon is pushing for an "as soon as possible" launch that is primarily being held up by technology and data issues. June or July would seem a likely launch time frame as Amazon is anxious to beat competitors to the inevitable rush of DRM free product.
Amazon is also said to be offering flexible and lower pricing with full album downloads retailing at $4.99 to $8.99 and individual tracks ranging from $.89-$.99.
The Amazon mp3 store announcement comes as no surprise to regular readers of Hypebot and the addition of EMI product was inevitable. We hear rumblings of more labels including perhaps some Universal product and the catalogs of some larger indies and distributed labels that have previously held onto DRM signing onto Amazon prior to launch.