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May 03, 2011  | by: Kerri O'Malley

Amazon: Music Warriors

In an unprecedented attempt to boot iTunes from the top of the music download food chain, Amazon.com recently cut prices for singles.  And not just any singles — the discounts have been made for top-selling songs like Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” and Katy Perry’s “E.T.” Amazon is currently selling these singles for a jaw-dropping 69 cents, while the same singles are $1.29 on iTunes.  I think somebody just smacked a white glove across Steve Jobs’ face.  Let the duel begin!

This latest offense is part of a recent surge in music-related marketing for Amazon.  The company is attempting to tear off a bigger chunk of the industry (specifically, to tear the ear off of iTunes).  But this is not simply a numbers game, nor is it a pointless war.  Amazon is encouraging a world where mp3 downloads won’t be the railroad stations in a gigantic Apple monopoly.  They are leading a revolution against the tyranny of iTunes, and I’m ready to join the cause.

My Mortal Enemy: Steve Jobs

I’ve spent many a night shouting at my MacBook Pro, calling Steve Jobs the anti-christ and cursing the day he was born, but I swear my approval of Amazon isn’t purely personal (or at all related to anti-Steve Jobs voodoo…this time).  It’s not just short battery life or obsolete disk drives or even the general “yeah, you’re gonna need to replace that in a few months” attitude behind Apple products that bothers me.  It’s not even the four iPods I’ve managed to destroy or have stolen from me since I turned 18.  Instead, it’s the overwhelming sense of a company bent on domination of its markets and subjugation of its consumers.  Once you buy into one part of the system, you’re trapped within it.  Got an Apple computer?  Then you’re stuck with iTunes and music files that will only work on an iPod or an iPhone, not your Droid or discount mp3 player.  It’s the Matrix of modern technology.  The shackles of a power-hungry empire.  Ultimately, we are all Apple’s willing slaves.

Not that we aren’t happy about it.  Apple products are so easy to use, and they’re the best sugar daddy money can buy.  You may not be able to leave the house, but it’s got everything you need.  There’s an Apple product for it all, and they all work together, placating us into a false sense of security and fairness.  Consider this recent iPhone commercial:

Basically, the commercial argues that if you don’t have an iPhone, you don’t have jack shit because you haven’t bought into the system.  If you have another kind of phone, you’re denied access to your iTunes.  If you can’t have iTunes, you can’t shop at the iTunes store.  And if you can’t shop at the iTunes store, well then, you have Apple’s everlasting pity.  After all, they may not have God on their side, but they do have the Beatles.

Amazon, on the other hand, recently introduced a Cloud Player that hosts music files on their server, allowing users to access them from a number of different sites and devices. Currently, this service is free and holds up to 20 gigabytes of music, roughly 4,000 songs.  The player works on Android devices, Macs, and PCs.  Mum’s the word on iPhones — but I’m guessing Apple would never opt into a competitor’s venture.

Now, on top of the music hosting service, Amazon’s new price-slash is getting a lot of attention, and may draw crowds away from the iTunes store.  True, Amazon has been steadily selling their singles at prices lower than iTunes for years now — even before the $1.29 jump from $0.99 and ever since, Amazon.com has consistently sold their singles for $0.89 — but the new prices represent a more significant savings.  They’re almost half-price!  Surely, anyone who eats up Top 40 tunes will run to Amazon to get their radio hits at a two-for-one discount.

With iTunes keeping steady (and being mean) at $1.29 a single, I know where I’ll be turning for my guilty pleasure songs.  I’m loading up my Amazon shopping cart with Rihanna’s “S&M,” Kanye’s “All of the Lights,” and Lil Wayne’s “6 Foot 7 Foot.”  Viva la revolucion!

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