iTunes Versus Amazon.com MP3 & How Does It Work?

ZDPhoenix

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Dec 7, 2008
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Ok, so I'm not really hip on mp3 downloads as I've always thought grabbing a CD was easier; but I'm willing to give this a shot here.

I see 3 albums I want to buy, but I'm confused about a few things.

1. iTunes has each album available for $1 more than Amazon.

2. Amazon comes in an mp3 dl where iTunes of course comes in .mp4 or whatever format it uses.

Does it matter where I buy the albums from, if I plan to use iTunes as my playlist manager later?
 

ThatDood

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Nov 23, 2006
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Ok, so I'm not really hip on mp3 downloads as I've always thought grabbing a CD was easier; but I'm willing to give this a shot here.

I see 3 albums I want to buy, but I'm confused about a few things.

1. iTunes has each album available for $1 more than Amazon.

2. Amazon comes in an mp3 dl where iTunes of course comes in .mp4 or whatever format it uses.

Does it matter where I buy the albums from, if I plan to use iTunes as my playlist manager later?

It doesn't matter where you buy albums from at all. I've used both, but I would have to say that I prefer Amazon because:

1) The albums are cheaper and do not have the DRM crap. I believe the more expensive itunes downloads do not have DRM either.

2) I have an Amazon card that i get gift certs on.

Just my $.02.
 
Z

Zinn

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Amazon MP3s are higher quality than Apples crummy proprietary format too. I hate all things iTunes.
 

Blackforge

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Err... almost, if not all the music should be iTunes Plus now, which means no DRM and higher bitrate (this was announced back in January). Also, the format is not proprietary (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Audio_Coding), iTunes just happened to make it popular.

Quality-wise, they're roughly equivalent and you'd be hard pressed to notice a difference.

More about iTunes Plus:
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1711

I buy from both and go with whatever is cheaper or has what I want at the time. Amazon just uses it's own downloader and will add the music to your iTunes library.
 
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ZDPhoenix

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Thanks for the replies guys. Helps me out alot.

Err... almost, if not all the music should be iTunes Plus now, which means no DRM and higher bitrate (this was announced back in January). Also, the format is not proprietary (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Audio_Coding), iTunes just happened to make it popular.

Quality-wise, they're roughly equivalent and you'd be hard pressed to notice a difference.

More about iTunes Plus:
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1711

I buy from both and go with whatever is cheaper or has what I want at the time. Amazon just uses it's own downloader and will add the music to your iTunes library.

Can't I just manually enter the albums onto my iTunes? Is there really a good reason to use the installer?
 

Blackforge

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Thanks for the replies guys. Helps me out alot.



Can't I just manually enter the albums onto my iTunes? Is there really a good reason to use the installer?

You have to install the Amazon Downloader in order to make the MP3 purchases. However, you can tell it to not automatically add it to your Library if you wish, under File > Preferences.
 

ZDPhoenix

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Cool. Thanks for the info.

I hate when companies tell me "You have to DL this program to use our service", but if it's the only way, so be it!
 

kmeson

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I'm with Blackforge here. Use both, choose the cheaper non-DRM version. If both are the same price I prefer AAC, iTunes+. Occasionally one or the other have exclusive content that may tip the scale in their favor.
 

phide

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Jun 11, 2004
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Amazon MP3s are higher quality than Apples crummy proprietary format too.
As far as quality is concerned, AAC at higher bit rates is somewhat more resilient to perceptual defects than LAME MP3 (in general, anyway).

iTunes Plus files are probably of a slightly higher quality than Amazon's MP3s, but at ~256kbps, very few will be able to tell either apart from the original CDs.
 

Black Morty Rackham

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Amazon MP3s are higher quality than Apples crummy proprietary format too. I hate all things iTunes.
This is actually incorrect. MP4, or AAC, is no more proprietary than MP3 and has wide support with non-Apple software and hardware. Not as wide as MP3, no, but wide enough for it to be a non-issue for most people. MP4 generally trounces MP3 for quality-per-bit rate. Apple have ditched or are in the process of ditching DRM from their music store. I've bought a few albums on the iTMS, and none of them had any DRM at all.


If both stores have the thing you want, just go with the cheaper.
 

Impulse

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I buy stuff from iTunes (rarely), Amazon (sometimes, when I'm in the US, doesn't work in PR), and ironically the Zune Marketplace (often) and I sync it all to my iPod touch with MediaMonkey (just because I find it a lot more powerful, flexible and intuitive than iTunes).

Prices do fluctuate, but quality doesn't fluctuate anywhere near as much as some of the above posters would have you believe, nor does the presence of DRM. As of a month or two ago Apple switched to a DRM-free model, there's some exceptions but it's like 10% of their catalog or less. Same for the Zune Marketplace. Amazon was always 100% DRM-free AFAIK. You wanna watch for the iTunes+ tag or w/e on iTunes to make sure you're getting the higher-bitrate DRM-free tracks (and the MP3 tag on Zune if you ever go that route). They're all using VBR encodes of roughly the same bitrate (the bitrate you'll see on properties isn't really accurate as they're VBR - variable bit-rate).

The only catch w/iTunes is they use AAC/MP4 rather than MP3s, which isn't exactly propietary but not all MP3 players will play AAC files while the vast majority do play MP3 (though even there's exceptions, the Nintendo DS only plays AAC files for instance, lol). My cell phone plays both for instance, but my older Creative MuVo flash players don't.

That's probably the only reason I don't buy more from iTunes though (well that and the occasional price differences), my older players, the majority of newer players do support AAC/MP4 so if that isn't an issue for you then just go by price. No reason not to.
 
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Impulse

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Slightly OT now but... To shop on the Zune Marketplace btw you do need to install their app, though it's pretty slick and makes browsing for music pretty enjoyable. I did lament the fact that I had to install it though (something Amazon doesn't force for instance). Still far better than being forced to install iTunes and then having it nag you about Quicktime this, Bonjour that, etc etc.

If you're the 'least bit unsatisfied w/iTunes do give MediaMonkey a try btw, the way I have it set up it will auto-organize all my online purchases exactly how I want (rather than how each store chooses) while not touching my already organized CD-rips... And it's filtering/sync/playlist/conversion capabilities outshadow iTunes imo.
 

Ghettobox

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As far as amazons DL application. Its windows only if that a concern, and is only needed to download entire albums. Single songs need no application. As I generally buy singles, unless I find a decent album on their daily $1.99 album (yes sometimes there is some good stuff on that daily sale) so I almost never need the app which is a good thing as my main computer is my macbook. I have an itunes account but I have never used it as I have always found amazon the better deal and less hassle than itunes with its AAC format which is fine for my Ipod video but chokes all my other players.
 

Ghettobox

Limp Gawd
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Had to add i had some misonformation in that post above. Seems amazon does have a OSX version of their Downloader for mac as long as you are running 10.4 or higher. So keep that in mind and sorry for the mix up.
 
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