Amazon just announced its new, free digital copy service for CD puchases, AutoRip. AutoRip is now included with many (but not all) CD purchases through Amazon. When you complete an eligible CD order, Amazon automatically adds the corresponding digital MP3 tracks to your Amazon Cloud Player library. Elegible titles are identified on product pages with a new AutoRip logo and messaging.
Perhaps more surprisingly, Amazon is also adding digital copies to your library for previously-purchased CDs. In our initial tests, loading the Amazon Cloud Player web page resulted in a delayed load and a message indicating that previous purchases were just added. Even CD albums and singles purchased many years ago now appeared in the library.
Of course, the big question is “Why?” Are there still enough consumers purchasing CDs for a service like this to make sense? The other oddity is the continued disparity between physical and digital pricing of similar content. You might expect CDs to cost the same or even slightly more than digital music tracks, but label-dictated digital pricing has created an unusual situation where it’s often cheaper to buy CDs. This hasn’t changed since the launch of Amazon’s new service, which suggests Amazon could be largely subsidizing AutoRip.