Amazon AutoRip is Awesome

by Ryan Guina

I’m a huge fan of Amazon. I am an Amazon Prime member and think it’s one of the best deals in technology that you can find. For less than $100 a year, you can get unlimited streaming for thousands and movies and TV shows, free two day shipping, and borrow a book for free each month on the Kindle (I have a Kindle too, and it has changed the way I read books – I love it!). Amazon Prime is an even better deal if you are a student – you can get a full year for less than $40. I can go on and on about why Amazon rocks, but I covered the reasons this article.

Today Amazon announced another feature that is driving me deeper into their ecosystem – Amazon AutoRip. It works like this: You buy an AutoRip Eligible CD and you receive a physical copy of the CD shipped to your home, and you get instant access to a digital copy of the CD. Here is a list of AutoRip eligible CDs so you can see some of the available albums.

Why Amazon AutoRip is Awesome

amazon-autorip-free-digital-copyOn the surface, this seems like a small convenience at best, right? You can always rip the CD once you receive it. Except that you can’t always do that. Many new computers aren’t made with CD drives (for example, netbooks and most of the new Mac line doesn’t have disk drives). Tablets and mobile devices can’t rip the albums either. So the convenience factor is definitely there. But it gets better.

AutoRip automatically sends your purchased songs to the Amazon Cloud Player where you can access them from anywhere you have an internet connection and you can download them to your favorite MP3 player.

The best part…

Amazon just gave you digital copies of every AutoRip eligible CD you have purchased since 1998. Seriously. I just got an email that stated Amazon added 13 albums to my Cloud Player.

And here is the cherry on top: you even get digital copies of music you gave as gifts.

Amazon AutoRip - Free digital copies of your music

Amazon AutoRip gives free digital copies of your purchased music.

I’m sure this is an unintended consequence, and one that Amazon probably had to negotiate with the music labels. Or not. I honestly don’t know. But at least they can verify a purchase actually took place, so it’s not the same as someone illegally downloading music.

I went through my Amazon Cloud Player and identified 4 albums I bought as gifts, and two CDs I purchased long ago, but no longer own (I probably lost them at some point). I’m not sure how I feel about getting the “free” music that I gave as gifts. It’s actually not my taste, so I probably won’t listen to it. But in a roundabout way, it enables file-sharing.

A couple more notes about Amazon Cloud Player, MP3s, and AutoRip:

  • I buy almost all of my music in an MP3 format now, and virtually all of it from Amazon. Amazon frequently gives coupons for their MP3 store, and they run a lot of specially priced deals – it’s very easy to find great albums for $5 or less.
  • I virtually never buy songs from iTunes. It’s almost always more expensive than Amazon and sometimes it’s not even close. And there is no need – Amazon will automatically download your songs to your computer, then import them to iTunes for you.
  • The Cloud Player is pretty sweet. You can stream all your purchased music on your computer, phone, tablet, etc. And you can upload all of your other MP3s if you want to pay for the annual service. More info on Amazon Cloud Player, Apple iTunes and Google Music cloud offerings.
  • Buying the Physical CD can now be cheaper than the digital only copy – even for AutoRip eligible CDs. I couldn’t believe this at first… but it’s true. Go look through the AutoRip eligible CDs and you will see some CDs that are cheaper to buy a physical copy than just the MP3 version – and you get the MP3 version too! Definitely pay attention before buying!

Final Thoughts on AutoRip…

I’m already a huge Amazon fan, but this is going to ensure I always look at Amazon first when buying music – both for personal use and for gifts. Now, if Amazon extends this to digital copies of movies, I will be an Amazon customer for life!

Published or updated January 10, 2013.
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