August 03, 2012, 11:10 AM —
I wrote a feature for Lifehacker about when it makes sense to buy music and movies from Amazon. To summate, the answer was “Yes, it makes sense, and for some people it makes more sense than buying from Apple or Google.” Which goes to show you how hard Amazon has worked to sell music, movies, and even app on devices where it’s competing against the device-makers themselves.
Amazon’s MP3 store is impressive, both for its selection and for its pricing. There are timed, themed sales and ridiculously deep cuts on brand-new albums. I picked up Frank Ocean’s acclaimed Channel Orange for $3 on one such sale, though it’s still only $5. Currently, Channel Orange costs $12 on iTunes, and $11.50 in Google’s Play Store.
Android and iPhone devices, naturally, offer means of downloading and playing your purchases from their makers’ stores. Amazon created its own Cloud Player service and apps for each platform, so one can stream their purchased music over a network, or save tracks for later offline listening. Now they’ve done the same thing with their Instant Video store, which offers similar one-off and regular discounts as the music store. It’s a bit trickier with video, though, because no movie or TV studio is going to allow DRM-free downloads. So Amazon, again, has created its own web-based streaming service, and a just-released iPad app for Instant Video that has the awkward handicap of not including any links or suggestions about where you actually buy those videos you see there (in a browser, away from the app, per Apple’s rules). Still, you can watch what you’ve bought or rented, online or offline.