ONLINE RETAILER Amazon is offering its users a ripped copy of every CD they buy as well as those they bought previously.
The web store has launched Amazon Autorip, promising to give customers copies of CDs that they pick from its shelves. It says that this applies to CDs past, present and future, but will only apply to CDs that carry the Autorip tag.
We had a quick look at these. The top two are albums by Adele and Mumford and Sons. Number three is by Taylor Swift. We stopped looking around then but according to the Amazon page there are 37,301 results, and at least one Pink Floyd.
Mumford and Sons aside, the proposition is rather good, especially as it relates to CDs that you bought fifteen years ago and have probably lost, lent, scratched or frisbee'd by now.
"What would you say if you bought music CDs from a company 15 years ago, and then 15 years later that company licensed the rights from the record companies to give you the MP3 versions of those CDs... and then to top it off, did that for you automatically and for free?" said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com founder and CEO.
"Well, starting today, it's available to all of our customers - past, present, and future - at no cost. We love these opportunities to do something unexpected for our customers."
It is pretty unexpected and few people will have seen this coming. It means that if you buy a CD online you automatically will begin downloading it. That means that you get not only the songs, which is what you were after, but the packaging and hard copy as well.
MP3 versions of songs, in high-quality 256kbit/s MP3 audio will get automatically added to your Amazon cloud library, meaning that you can listen to them at home or on the go. We imagine that some CD buyers will be expecting a lot of music files, particularly if they have shopped on Amazon since 1998.
Amazon said that "in many cases" people who buy an Autorip CD from it will be paying less than those who buy the digital only copy at iTunes.
Although we do have an Amazon cloud player to try it out on, we cannot find the feature in the UK. It might be just a US release for now. We have asked Amazon for more information. µ