Amazon users in the United Kingdom can now benefit from the AutoRip service offered by the company, six months since the successful launch in the United States.
AutoRip provides customers with a free digital version of all the music they buy, including both CD's and vinyl records. In addition to this bonus feature applying to all future purchases from the online retail giant, AutoRip will also be backdated. This means that every eligible song purchased since 1999 will be available in a giant online library, allowing users access to music that they may have forgotten about from years gone by.
More than 350,000 albums will be available in this format, with Amazon agreeing deals with numerous record companies, ensuring that the vast majority of music available in a physical form online will also be on offer in a digital format. The United Kingdom is not the only country to benefit from this addition recently, with Germany, Italy and France also gaining access to AutoRip in the past week.
What does it mean for the competition?
Along with Amazon, market leading online music retailers include iTunes and Play.com. With Amazon introducing AutoRip to a far wider audience, industry experts are speculating that the move could lead to Amazon sales outperforming those of their closest competitors.
While iTunes was responsible for 60 per cent of all digital sales in 2012, with a total revenue of $13.5 billion (£8.8 billion), Amazon's revenue was significantly higher. In total the company bought in $61 billion in sales (£39.8 billion) in 2012, but posted a loss due to a heavy marketing spend on their Kindle product.
Users turning to the internet for their musical purchases now do so in the knowledge that Amazon is the sole provider of music in multiple formats at no extra cost. While the influence this will have on the company's fortunes will not be revealed for several months, it appears as though Amazon has taken the first step towards the future of music.
Kleon West, business development manager at theEword remarked: "Amazon will be delighted that they are the first retailer on the market to introduce this type of service, and I feel it is likely they should expect to see increased sales as a result. What remains to be seen is whether the company's main rivals will now step up and introduce similar services.