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[editor's note: Dieter's leaving a jet plane for NYC today, Any breaking news today will probably have to come from me, Mike Overbo of diametrically-opposed evil twin sibling smelly-iPhone-centric site Phone Different.]

Amazon has launched a beta of their MP3 store. This store will probably actually make its own stand, as opposed most of the other online stores that try to compete with iTunes that end up as also-rans. Case in point, Virgin's online store just closed down. Exactly how Amazon got EMI and UMG to kowtow to the MP3 format is beyond me, but they got them to do it. Here's the sweet and low-down:

  • Top 100 songs: $.89 (unless otherwise noted)
  • Top 100 albums: $8.99 or less (unless marked otherwise)
  • Other songs: Usually $.99
  • Other albums: all over the place. Under $4.99 to $11.99
  • Bit rate: 256kbps, mostly variable bit rate (VBR)
  • Song Encoding: MP3
  • DRM: none
  • Album Art: yes
  • Transferrable license of music: no
  • Big labels present: Universal Music Group, EMI
  • Big labels absent: Warner, Sony BMG
  • Indie labels: about 20,000 of 'em
  • # of Songs that AmazonMP3 has: 2 million
  • # of Songs that iTunes has: 6 million
  • Works with Macs: yes
  • Works with PCs: yes
  • Works with Linux: single songs only, no albums. Album downloader application in the works.

Interestingly, the current #1 song is, natch, 1234 by Feist. You know, the gal from the new iPod Nano commercial. #1 Artist? The Apples in Stereo.

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