Amazon AutoRip UK arrives: Free digital versions of your CD buys

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Amazon has brought its AutoRip service to the UK, offering CD and vinyl buyers – whether new or based on historic purchases – a free MP3 copy on over 350,000 albums. Launched in the US back in January, Amazon AutoRip tries to address the balance between the immediacy of digital and the physical reassurance of a CD or vinyl record, with purchases dating back to 1999 (and even including cassettes) qualifying for a digital version. Whether you'll want to be reminded of your musical tastes in the late 90s is your own problem.

AutoRip works automatically, with a digital version of albums automatically added to Amazon's Cloud Player library whenever they're purchased. Obviously they have to be part of the AutoRip scheme; Amazon says there are titles from every major label under that umbrella, with more added on an ongoing basis.

The MP3s themselves are 256Kbps, and they don't take up any of the user's Cloud Player space, not being counted against the usual limits. Once there, they can be streamed to the Android, iOS, or Kindle Fire apps, or in the browser.

Those albums eligible for AutoRip are flagged up with an icon to show they'll send digital copies if you buy the physical media. Right now, that includes Amazon's top ten albums sold since 1999, with Adele taking two of the spots with 19 and 21, Amy Winehouse's Back To Black also in the list, and three of the Now That's What I Call Music compilations.

It's also possible to search for only albums that have AutoRip status. Worth noting is that AutoRip tracks can only be streamed from the cloud, not downloaded; if you download one of the MP3s then you'll be charged for it as an individual purchase.