Amazon AutoRip gives CD buyers access to free MP3s

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Amazon to give buyers of physical album free online files

Amazon has announced AutoRip, a service that will see any US customer who buys a music CD rewarded with instant access to the album for streaming and MP3 download.

The scheme is operated via Amazon’s Cloud Player service, allowing listeners to get their purchase onto a PC or mobile device without needing to rip the CD first.

AutoRip doesn’t only apply to new purchases, either: Amazon says any CD bought since 1998 could be eligible for download, although not every CD the retailer sells is covered by the AutoRip service.

The new service marks an upping of the ante in the online music market: existing services offer either a physical product or a downloadable or streaming one. Amazon is the first to offer combined access to both a CD and a digital version simultaneously.

There are a few small caveats: only CDs sold directly from Amazon - as opposed to those sold by third-party marketplace sellers - are covered by AutoRip. Also, the generous-spirited aren’t about to be rewarded with free downloads of albums they bought for other people: if a CD was included in an order marked as a "gift" no download will be available to either the purchaser or the eventual recipient.

PC Pro is awaiting a response from Amazon regarding the availability of AutoRip in the UK.

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