Amazon has just announced a new service that gives customers free digital versions of any physical CDs they’ve purchased from the online retailer since the launch of its music store back in 1998. Dubbed Amazon AutoRip, the service applies to the 50,000 most popular albums of the past 15 years, including CDs from the largest three record labels and hundreds of independent labels and artists.
AutoRip doesn't require users to take any action to switch on the option. Previous purchases of qualifying albums should start appearing on user's Cloud Player libraries, and those who have never signed up to or downloaded the software will receive an email notifying them of their free digital copies.
Amazon’s Cloud Player allows anyone to store up to 250 songs at no cost while a premium tier costs $24.99 annually for up to 250,000, 256kbps audio files -- similar to Apple's iTunes Match minus the free option.
The service works with Kindle Fire devices, Android phones and tablets, the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, Roku, Sonos, Samsung smart TVs and DVD players, and most recently on Ford’s AppLink platform. With the company's tablets now in more consumers' hands, Amazon is hoping the new service encourages more people to use its cloud music service and boost digital music sales. Amazon's MP3 digital music business has been around since 2007, but its market share is less than 15%, according to the NPD Group.