Amazon has more than 15 million songs available for purchase as MP3 files. You can purchase entire albums for as little as $5 and individual tracks for around $0.99. One thing that sets Amazon apart in digital music sales is that it does not encode its music with digital rights management (DRM) protection. This means that after you purchase and download each track, you're not limited to playing it with Amazon's software. In fact, you can play these files on any hardware or software designed to play MP3s. If this sounds like it might be controversial, you're right; we'll examine that controversy later in this article.
You can shop for MP3s at Amazon as you would anything else you might want to buy there. To focus your search, select "MP3 Downloads" from the "Search" drop-down list at the top of the page at Amazon.com. When you see an album or track you want to buy, click the "Buy MP3" button for that album or track. Amazon will ask you to confirm each purchase (with the option to turn off such confirmations).
When you make your purchase, one of two things will happen. By default, your browser will begin downloading your new MP3s to your computer. However, if you have signed up to use an Amazon Cloud Drive, Amazon gives you the option of saving those MP3s to your Cloud Drive. As a bonus, the MP3s you buy from Amazon won't deduct from your available space on the Cloud Drive! You choose whether to download MP3s or save them to your Cloud Drive by updating your Amazon MP3 purchase settings. To change these settings, click "Your Account" in the upper right at Amazon.com, and click "Your Amazon MP3 Settings" from the "Digital Content" section of the page.
Whether you download your new MP3 files immediately or later from your Amazon Cloud Player, Amazon gives you two ways to download. One option is to use your Web browser's built-in downloader, saving the MP3 files wherever your browser saves other downloads. The other options is to install and use the Amazon MP3 Downloader software for your operating system. The MP3 Downloader can automatically import your music to iTunes or Windows Media Player after the download, saving you the extra step of importing them later.
If you've configured your Amazon account to save your MP3s to your Cloud Drive, you'll find the new tracks in the "Latest Uploads" playlist in the Amazon Cloud Player. You can manage your purchases and downloads together and mix them into your own playlists. Next, let's explore the ways you can play your music from the cloud.