If you bought a CD from Amazon.com at any point since 1998, you may be in for a treat. Amazon.com introduced their new AutoRip feature, which offers customers a free MP3 version of the CD they purchased (limited to certain albums). That in itself may not be cause to celebrate, especially if you stopped buying CDs years ago, but the feature works retroactively, which means if you purchased an AutoRip-compatible CD from Amazon.com at any point in the last fifteen years, you should have a digital version waiting for you on your Amazon cloud player right now.
First, for those unfamiliar with Amazon Cloud Player, that's where Amazon's MP3's are stored online. The Cloud can be used to play music, organize playlists, or if you want to get your music onto your iPod or into iTunes, you can download songs from the Cloud and save them to iTunes and sync as you would your other music. There's also the option to import music into the Cloud Player, and a subscription service if you want more space, but for MP3's you've purchased at Amazon, storage is free. So that's how the Cloud Player works, and that's not new, though people who prefer iTunes might not have used it before. Now for AutoRip...
AutoRip is a new feature that adds a "free" MP3 version of CDs purchased at the site, when eligible. When the feature is available for a CD, the AutoRip logo appears on the album cover and under the price. See sample image below...
Here's where it gets better. Not only does the feature allow customers to buy a CD to enjoy it digitally the moment they complete the purchase, but if any of the CDs you've purchased since 1998 are AutoRip eligible, the digital versions will show up in your Cloud player.
I'll be honest, I haven't been this pleased by something music-related since iTunes added the Purchased feature and finally let me retrieve all the MP3s I never bothered to back up. Since reading about Amazon's new feature, I took a look at my Amazon Cloud player and it took a few moments, but the update happened. Not all of the CDs I've ever purchased through the site were on there, but the feature added well over a hundred songs to my Purchased music list, some of which are from CDs I either no longer have anymore or were gifts (Update: Must not have been marked/purchased that way as Amazon says gifts aren't eligible). Bonus! Granted, I might not feel the immediate urge to listen to Disney's Tarzan Soundtrack or Weird Al's Running with Scissors, but Amazon is now giving me the opportunity to, regardless. And the MP3 option, does add the incentive to consider buying a CD, for those who haven't gone completely digital.
Now, if Amazon could add a similar digital-copy feature for books and DVD/Blu-ray purchases, I'll be in heaven.
See Amazon's AutoRip-eligible albums here. And you can read the terms and conditions here.