Amazon's AutoRip: Buy a CD, Get the Cloud Version Free (and Maybe Films One Day, Too?)
Amazon has just announced a new service integrated into its powerful music sales tier called AutoRip, which grants CD buyers an immediately downloadable digital copy of that very album — or any CD purchased on Amazon for the last fifteen years (if it’s in the catalogue). Previously, you might have ripped the CD yourself when it came in the mail. AutoRip does the same thing, except, well… it’s automatic, and instant. Actually, the service sounds so obvious it’s almost a wonder no one thought of it sooner. In response, though, I have to ask: music and CDs are great, for sure — but why stop there? While you’re at it, Amazon, why not do the same for films too?
While it’s worth noting that AutoRip’s catalogue does not totally encompass the full range of music available in either physical or digital versions on Amazon, it’s certainly a perk. Maybe it’s not for everyone, but if you could own the both physical disc and the digital album with one click, why not? Here’s some details on AutoRip, from Amazon directly, and courtesy AllThingsD (please note the video playback may be a little wacky, it was a bit of a struggle to embed straight from Amazon — for easier viewing, see amazon.com/autorip) :
AllThingsD points out AutoRip’s place as the newest — and perhaps most generally accessible — way “in which Amazon’s e-commerce and digital businesses overlap.” AutoRip is certainly an intriguing gesture — even if it only bridges that gap in one direction. After all, purchasing the physical copy gifts you the free digital one, but buying the full album on Amazon’s Cloud Player doesn’t mean you have a CD on the way in the mail (as much as we may want it to). That just may be too much to ask — that one size buys all. Or, that one buy buys all sizes. In the mean time, though, it seems a bit odd to relegate this give-back type of concept to music alone. Here’s AllThingsD:
This isn’t exactly a huge leap forward for technology, but the service is pretty neat, and will be especially handy for anyone who never bothered to rip their CDs (as long as they bought music from Amazon). The songs will automatically appear in Amazon’s Cloud Player, and be immediately available for either playback or download from a PC or a mobile device. If a consumer has never accessed his or her account before, the music will be there as soon as they do. “This is uniquely Amazon,” said Steve Boom, Amazon’s VP of digital music. “No one else who sells physical and digital music can provide this.”
Amazon will also benefit because it raises the awareness of its music locker, which is in a three-horse race with Google and Apple. “Tens of millions of people who bought CDs will be notified that they have free music waiting for them in the cloud,” Boom said. “We think that it will increase its awareness, for sure.” However, Amazon isn’t doing this for a lift in sales. “We want to make buying music from Amazon a complete experience. It’s up to you if you want pure digital music. If you do, that’s fine, but if you want to have a CD, we want it to also be instantly accessible on your mobile devices, too.”
All of which is well and good — and granted, the service is a ways from being universal within Amazon, as it’s currently limited to a roster of 50,000 albums. But that which applies to Amazon’s music locker must surely apply to that of its film sales, at least to an extent, right? It only makes sense to give you the Amazon instant video stream/download access once you’ve already purchased the movie on DVD or Blu-ray — and purchased through Amazon itself, no less. And, if anybody has the infrastructure (already in place, ripe for the picking) to make such an arrangement possible, it’s Amazon. I realize many movies physically released today come in multi-format packages which include a digital copy — but the fewer steps the better, apparently, as proven by Amazon’s willingness to, well, AutoRip your tunes for you.
Do you guys think that this type of service would logically extend to movies, too? Or do you think it’s just swimming against the tide, given the gradual drift away from optical media in general?