Move over, iTunes. There's a new digital music store for the iPhone and iPod touch.
Retail giant Amazon is looking to chip away at iTunes sales, launching an iPhone and iPod-friendly version of its existing MP3 store. The optimised store, accessible through Apple's Safari mobile web browser, boasts 22 million songs as well as some other features users have come to expect from Amazon, like music discounts, personalised recommendations, best-seller lists, and customer ratings.
Any music purchased from the store will be automatically saved to a user's Amazon Cloud Player library, but will not count against the library's 5GB free storage limit. Music can be played back using the Cloud Player mobile apps, which are available for the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Kindle Fire, Android phones and tablets, Roku devices, Sonos home entertainment systems, or through any web browser.
"Since the launch of the Amazon Cloud Player app for iPhone and iPod touch, a top request from customers has been the ability to buy music from Amazon right from their devices," Steve Boom, vice president of Amazon Music, said in a statement.
"For the first time ever, iOS users have a way do that — now they can access Amazon's huge catalog of music ... and they can buy their music once and use it everywhere," he added.
The mobile site was built on HTML5, and allows customers to make purchases directly from their iPhone and iPod touch device. Amazon said deals currently available on the regular MP3 store, like £5 albums, would also be extended to the new mobile platform.
However, music buffs will want to note that only Amazon's US site has been privileged with the iOS-friendly interface for the time being, though we're assuming that a UK equivalent is only a matter of time as the core coding is now in place.
To take a look at what to expect, head on over to amazon.com/mp3 using the Safari web browser on your compatible iOS device.
Amazon likely opted for the HTML5 route rather than in-app music purchases because Apple takes a 30 per cent cut of all in-app profits. The policy prompted Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and others to remove in-app eBook purchases from the Kindle and Nook iOS apps in 2011. Users can instead purchase eBooks via the web, and then return to the apps, where the content will be synced and ready to read - much like the new MP3 policy.
Also on the music front, Amazon last week announced a new service called AutoRip that will provide customers who purchase physical CDs with a cloud-based MP3 backup of the music via Amazon Cloud Player.