Happy Birthday Amazon MP3

Amazon has been trading in mp3 downloads for a year now, and while it’s still nothing like a serious competitor to itunes, it’s made a healthy start in the market. Amazon is the biggest e-commerce organisation in the world, so they did start with a captive audience, albeit not as well targeted at music consumers as Apple’s list of ipod owners. From a standing start they’ve sold 130 million tracks in their first year. The vast bulk of these being in the USA, the only country where they were operational until their UK store opened earlier this month. As impressive as this volume of sales is, it pales in comparison to the 2.4 billion tracks that itunes is predicted to sell by the end of the year, eighteen times what Amazon have sold.

iTunes and the iPod/iPhone deliver a package that’s hard to beat; ease of use with a really good looking piece of technology,
ad it’s hard to see how Amazon can break people out of that neat circle of consumption. Their fledgling relationship with Google might prove an ace in the hole; they’re working together to provide MP3 downloads on the G1 – Google’s iPhone competitor. This will probably end up being another iteration of the age old mac vs. pc battle, greater stability and efficiency coupled with higher prices on the mac side, with more flexibility, content and bugs on the pc/Google side, although the search giant is a new factor in this battle, having so neatly taken effective control of the search and contextual advertising sectors of the net, and stripping Microsoft’s flagship Office software out from under it’s nose with their Google documents suite.

However this pans out, Amazon and iTunes will still own between 75% and 85% of the digital music market between them, with the rest of it divided up between a turbulent and ever changing multitude of other minor players. This market is only going to get bigger, especially now the lines between phones, mp3 players, web tablets and personal computers are blurring so fast. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Amazon’s next generation of their Kindle reader have a phone, web browser and mp3 player built into it using Google’s Android/Chrome platforms.

Im your friendly RouteBot. Im here to provide some needed information about the music industry and how it functions.

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