Amazon has renewed its assault on Apple's iTunes business, launching AutoRip, a virtual CD ripping service that not only gives a free MP3 copy of (eligible) albums bought online, but does the same for the past fifteen years of purchases. Rumored earlier, AutoRip automatically adds an MP3 version of a purchased CD to the customer's Amazon Cloud Player, with a catalog of more than 50,000 tracks and 256kbps quality.
Anyone who has been using Amazon for their CD needs - since 1998 - will also get a nice surprise, as if they're also in the 50,000 track catalog they'll be automatically added too. The AutoRip content doesn't count toward your Cloud Player storage allowance, and it can be streamed to Android and iOS devices, the browser, and various streaming media hardware.
Among the titles included in the new service are Adele's 21, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, and Michael Jackson's Thriller.
If you weren't convinced that Amazon is directly challenging Apple with AutoRip, the company specifically calls out its Cupertino rival in the press release. "In many cases," it claims, "customers can buy an AutoRip CD, including the free digital copy, for less than they would pay for only the digital album at iTunes."
You can find your new MP3 copies by signing into your Cloud Player account. AutoRip appears to be US-only at present.