Amazon is giving away free digital music — if you’ve bought the physical CD

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Music

Have you been putting off converting your old CDs into MP3 format? Well, Amazon just made the process less of an effort: now, it will automatically ‘rip’ your discs and add the songs to your cloud library — if you purchased your old music on its website, of course.

Amazon says Auto-rip will work for CDs bought as far back as 1998, and allow its customers to stream or download the digital versions of the songs after they’ve been store in their Cloud Player library. It’s essentially a matching service — if you’ve got a CD that is on the approved list of 50 000 albums, the corresponding MP3s will pop up in the cloud. If you purchase one of those CDs today, it’ll appear in your library before it’s even been delivered.

As Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos points out, it’s a pretty decent time-saving offer — I mean, “what would you say if you bought music CDs from a company 15 years ago, and then 15 years later that company licensed the rights from the record companies to give you the MP3 versions of those CDs… and then to top it off, did that for you automatically and for free?”

The company reiterated how cost-effective their new service is, saying that in some cases, customers can by a physical and digital CD for “less than they would pay for only the digital album at iTunes.” The songs added through AutoRip also don’t count against storage restrictions, which means you won’t get charged for hosting all that extra music in the cloud.

The service, which is currently only available in the US due to licensing restrictions, is an interesting step towards closing the gap between the digital and physical. It’s also meeting the multi-device requirements that are fast becoming the norm, as it allows customers to access their music on the go: once it’s in their libraries, it can be streamed on anything from a Kindle or a Samsung Smart TV to an Android or iDevice.

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