Sound of silver talk to me / makes you want to feel like a teenager

So, in one quick bump of a mouse but­ton, tak­ing it live, the new AmazonMP3 store has rel­e­gat­ed the iTunes store to the anti­quat­ed, to the clunky, to the poten­tial­ly almost irrel­e­vant class, although clear­ly that has got a long way to go with Amer­i­cans who are far more sub­servient to Apple than the rest of the world (it’s the US, increas­ing­ly out of step, where iPod rules, where­as in much of the rest of the world it plays a dis­tant sec­ond fid­dle to the sim­ple MP3 enabled phone)..if you want evi­dence of that read this head-in-the-san­dism from US PC World.

I have to be hon­est, I’ve nev­er been an iTunes store fan. Its inter­face is ridicu­lous­ly slow, unre­spon­sive, dif­fi­cult to nav­i­gate, and less than intu­itive. I click on a title and wait, and wait, for the obvi­ous­ly clogged ded­i­cat­ed servers to load my page.

And it nev­er seems to offer me any­thing that I might want to buy. Even the tracks I know I’d prob­a­bly like, look some­how less entic­ing than they should. It’s like one of those grim, dank record shops in small town New Zealand, full of records you don’t want which hav­ing fad­ed full price stick­ers even when you know the label dropped it to mid price some time back.

Ama­zon, on the oth­er hand, pro­vides a clean, much faster, cheap­er, DRM free, and visu­al­ly entic­ing user front-end that, like my oth­er favourite, eMu­sic, takes me off in a direc­tion that I might not know I want to go it, but am often pleased I’m head­ing (although I’m not sure if Pink Floyd’s The Wall real­ly sits that well in the Tech­no list­ings). It might­n’t have al the bells and whis­tles yet but I believe the grand­dad­dy of net com­merce has much on the can bet your Bezos on that.

And there is no need to down­load a fair­ly large slab of soft­ware which often needs updat­ing. Instead, you work direct­ly from the place you like­ly are already at: your brows­er. Even if you do have iTunes, Ama­zon pro­vides a free, tiny, bit of soft­ware, that links Amazon’s shop to that device rather seam­less­ly.

Yep, it’s a whizz and indica­tive of the way the future actu­al­ly lies. In the same way the Mp3 play­er is con­verg­ing with the phone (and not the iPhone, which is a blip, albeit a pret­ty one, but the vasty more wide­ly held Nokias and Motoro­las and the like, which sell more units dai­ly than the iPhone has in it’s whole retail his­to­ry), the pur­chas­ing device has to oper­ate from the brows­er. Retail is about remov­ing bar­ri­ers, not adding to them and the whole idea that you need a pro­gram des­ig­nat­ed pure­ly for music pur­chase and play­back is increas­ing­ly ludi­crous. AmazonMP3 (smart name too) sim­ply nails that.

And ain’t it fun­ny how quick­ly the para­me­ters of the ball­park have changed in the past few months, from the iPhone buzz where the Jobs’ dis­ci­ples went com­plete­ly ga-ga, hail­ing the future as cometh, angri­ly slap­ping doen any who dared to ques­tion the ora­cle, to this, some five months lat­er, where that device now smells so very yes­ter­day, no mat­ter how cut­sie the things might be. The iPhone was as much of a threat to Nokia as the iMac is to Microsoft…actually that’s not’s much much less. It’s like Fiji declar­ing war on Chi­na.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love my iPod and I think many will do so for a long time, but I know a) how I’m going to fill it (and it ain’t from Mr. Job’s store), and b) what direc­tion I’m going to go in when it’s time to replace it.

As an update: as of this morn­ing Ama­zon have blocked any non-US purchases..prior to that, putting 90210 down as one’s code did the trick. Roy­al­ty stuff, eas­i­ly offend­ed majors and the like of course, but for vir­tu­al­ly every oth­er trans­ac­tion in the world, its now a glob­al mar­ket. I do won­der when the record com­pa­nies will wake up to that. Tech­nol­o­gy could take care of roy­al­ty issues in a snip, but I guess there needs to be a will

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