Buy vinyl from Amazon, get the MP3 for free; Online retailer extends AutoRip to digital copies



Amazon might have finally solved the portability problem of record collecting in the digital age. The online retailer has announced that their AutoRip service will extend to cover vinyl records, automatically uploading digital copies of every purchase into your Amazon Cloud Player. Even more impressively, the service has been made available retrospectively for any records bought since 1998 that carry the AutoRip logo.

Since it was introduced for CD’s in January, AutoRip has proved popular if somewhat irrelevant, for linking physical purchases with the digital world. (let’s face it, turning your CD into a digital file isn’t rocket science). The extension into vinyl seems like a canny move.

In a press release on the site, Steve Boom, Amazon’s aptly named Vice President of Digital Music said: “We’re thrilled to extend this experience to vinyl records. Many of our music customers are vinyl fans and it’s traditionally been very difficult to make digital versions of vinyl records—now customers can enjoy the albums they buy wherever they are, not just when they have access to a record player.”

While the news will surely be welcomed by collectors exasperated by the conflict between portability and audio fidelity, the move is another setback for resurgent, often vinyl-only independent record shops, who will see this as an aggressive move by the omnipotent platform to consolidate another chunk of the music retail market.

On the plus side, AutoRip may finally give labels the incentive to be more liberal with their download codes.