Just when you thought the CD had breathed its last… Amazon looks set to resuscitate it, with its new AutoRip service. Already launched in the US, it’s now over here.
How does it work? Well, now, when you buy a physical CD on the site they’ll automatically give you an instant free digital version. It’s waiting for you. Right there in your Amazon Cloud Player and on all your devices.
Better still… they’ve retro-ripped every CD you’ve ever bought from them. So be afraid, be very afraid because all those Daniel Bedingfield albums are coming back to haunt you; long after you incinerated or buried them at the bottom of your garden.
What does it mean?
To be honest it’s either wonderful or completely meaningless. It depends how prepared you are to ditch the disc.
- Best of both worlds? If you’re clinging on to the physical product… it could finally make you go digital. You get your precious disc, jewel case and inlay booklet with sing-along lyrics. Plus, you have the instant gratification of the digital download. Think of it as a migration tool, to help you dip your toe in the brave new world.
- Utterly pointless. The AutoRip option looks to be more expensive than the digital download only. You pay your money, get your digital download. Then, 3 days a later, the physical CD arrives to clutter up your house. You’ve already heard and enjoyed the music, it’s already been ripped for you… so what’s the purpose?
Where it may come into its own is when a new release comes with opulent packaging. In other words, the artefact has a value over above the music it carries. So you get your instant gratification and then it’s built upon with the ten postcards of the band, backstage DVD and pin badge that arrives in the post. Or you might simply regard it as a useful back-up service. Only to be utilised if you lose the original or it’s smeared with cauliflower baby food.
What’s clear is that Amazon is doing what it does best. Sweeping up and filling in the gaps. Not sticking a finger to the wind and waiting for everyone else to act first. Like the best digital innovators it’s a question of fearlessness. Sometimes your ideas will hit and stick; sometimes they’ll fall by the wayside. What’s important is that you don’t wait around for the next guy to have them.
Just ask HMV.