This is from Cory Doctrow's latest Guardian column. It is about Amazon's new MP3 policy.
"A good example of this is Amazon's MP3 store. Until recently, it
worked beautifully. I'd pay a reasonable price for my music, and Amazon
would let me download it to my computer with as little fuss as possible.
Recently, that changed. Amazon wants to promote its cloud drive
services, so now it requires that you lock yourself into an
Amazon-proprietary downloader to get your MP3s.
The Amazon MP3 store
started life with a lot of rhetoric about liberation (they made t-shirts
that trumpeted "DRM: Don't Restrict Me!") that contrasted their
offering with the locked-in world of the iTunes Store. Now that Amazon
has won enough marketshare in the MP3 world, it's using that position to
try and gain ground in the world of cloud computing – at the expense of
Lucky for me, MP3 is an open format, so MP3
investments fail well. The fact that I bought hundreds of pounds' worth
of music from Amazon doesn't stop me from taking my business elsewhere
now that they've decided to treat me as a strategic asset instead of a
I have just had the same problem with MP3 downloads from Amazon. I used to be able to easily download my MP3 purchases. Now I cannot without installing their cloud app. Since it is perfectly possible to download files using the FTP built into all browsers customers have to ask why Amazon has made the cloud app a compulsory download. Those who are suspicious might suspect that Amazon has an ulterior motive and the the app contains DRM [or spyware that will gather usage data from customers].
All Amazon has to do to dispel such suspicions is to make the app an option and issue a statement that it is not transmitting any private data back to Amazon if it is installed.
Amazon is behaving badly. I will not be using their MP3 store again. Also, since big companies rarely get the message unless they start losing money, I have started buying elsewhere.
Amazon's behaviour is surprising. Usually they are very careful of their reputation for good customer service. I am guessing that this has been done by some low level wannabe.
Alternatives to Amazon
I have started buying books from Aphrohead Books and Speedyhen. Both companies sell through Play.com.
They provided free P and P, quick delivery and lower prices than Amazon.
I have now purchased five books from companies selling through Play.com. In every case at prices lower than Amazon's and with free delivery.