Amazon said on Wednesday that it has expanded its popular AutoRip music service (opens in new tab) to actual vinyl records. That means customers who have purchased qualifying vinyl records through the online retailer's Music Store since its 1998 launch will automatically have free digital copies shoved into their personal Amazon Cloud Player account. The same is true for anyone purchasing qualified vinyl records through Amazon from now on.
Amazon launched AutoRip in January 2013 to give customers free digital copies of new CDs they just purchased, as well as for CDs they bought over the last 15 years, eliminating the need to make a digital copy (aka rip the disc). Thousands of records, including titles from every major record label, are available for AutoRip. Amazon is continuously adding titles, the company said, so just look for the AutoRip logo on the product page.
"AutoRip has been wildly popular with customers since it launched earlier this year," said Steve Boom, Vice President of Digital Music for Amazon. "It’s a fun experience to suddenly find CDs you purchased just today -- or 15 years ago -- added automatically and free of charge to your digital library. We're thrilled to extend this experience to vinyl records."
All AutoRip MP3s -- which are provided in high-quality 256 Kbps audio -- are stored for free in customers’ Cloud Player libraries and do not count against Cloud Player storage limits. The music can be played back on any device such as the Kindle Fire, Android phones and tablets, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Samsung TV, Roku, Sonos, and any web browser.
So why offer digital copies of vinyl records? In fact, why offer vinyl records at all? Because vinyl-based recordings have a special sound that can't be fully emulated in the digital realm. There's still an audience for this raw sound too, although the MP3 versions will likely stem from highly-polished, digitally re-mastered recordings.
"Many of our music customers are vinyl fans and it’s traditionally been very difficult to make digital versions of vinyl records," Boom added. "Now customers can enjoy the albums they buy wherever they are, not just when they have access to a record player."
For more information about AutoRip, head here (opens in new tab).