Accessing Online Music Stores - Amazon MP3

At a very basic level, online music services all perform the same functions. They provide music for sale (so-called a la carte downloads, whereby you can purchase individual songs or albums) or, in some cases, provide subscription music services, which enable you to access all of the service’s music, on a number of PCs and even portable devices, for a monthly or yearly fee. Music services also typically offer editorial content—ways to discover new music or find out additional information about your favorite artists and albums. They often supply custom playlists, and other content. Amazon MP3, which, as the name suggests, is part of the Amazon.com online retailing site, is actually fairly bare bones, in keeping with Amazon’s policy of keeping things simple. That is, the service is offered only via the Web. There’s no deep integration with Windows Media Player, as was the case with many previous online music services, and there’s no downloadable media management application (though Amazon does offer a very simple PC-based song downloader, as you’ll soon see). What you get is access to millions of unprotected MP3 tracks, either individually or within prepackaged digital albums, using Amazon’s familiar interface.


Accessing Amazon MP3
To see Amazon MP3 in action, open Internet Explorer or your favorite Web browser and navigate to www.amazonmp3.com/. You can browse Amazon MP3 in several ways. The service highlights new and notable albums, top songs and albums, and editor’s pick selections, and you can browse via genre, album price range (there’s a surprisingly good selection of low-cost MP3 albums available), and via a variety of promotions. This being Amazon, of course, one of the best ways to find content is to use the site’s integrated search functionality. If a particular song or album isn’t available digitally, Amazon offers you a chance to purchase it in a more traditional (albeit less instantly gratifying) CD based format.


Purchasing Music from Amazon MP3
When you’ve found an album you might be interested in, you’ll see some surprising niceties. As with more traditional online music stores, Amazon MP3 offers 30-second previews of each song, accessed from directly within the Web browser. Just click the little play button next to any song name. Amazon also offers a wealth of customer reviews, its patented one-click ordering capability, and links to related music, including music that was purchased by people who also purchased the album you’re currently viewing.

To purchase an album, click the button labeled Buy MP3 Album (or Buy MP3 Album with 1-Click). Alternately, you can purchase individual tracks by clicking the Buy MP3 button found next to each track name. Amazon provides a handy Amazon MP3 Downloader application that you can install on your PC, which you’ll be prompted to do the first time you purchase a song or album. This application manages music downloads from the service. More important, it integrates with Windows Media Player (or, if you prefer, Apple iTunes), automatically adding any music you purchase from Amazon MP3 to your Windows Media Player–based media library.

Because it offers some configuration options, you may want to manually download the
Amazon MP3 Downloader before purchasing any music. To do so, navigate to the Amazon MP3 store and click Getting Started. Then locate the link for downloading the Amazon MP3 Downloader and then download and install the application. Next, open the Start Menu and type Amazon MP3 Downloader to manually launch the application. (It will later launch automatically whenever you download music from Amazon.) From this application, select File -> Preferences. In the Media Library section, choose Add It to Windows Media Player from the drop-down list box so that songs downloaded from the service are automatically added to Windows Media Player. Then click OK and you’re good to go.

Now, when you purchase songs or albums from Amazon MP3, you don’t have to worry about any management issues: They’ll be downloaded directly to your Music folder (under an Amazon MP3 subfolder) and added to your Windows Media Player media library. Voilà!

Source of Information : Wiley Windows Vista Secrets SP1 Edition

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