As expected, Amazon has launched a service called AutoRip designed to store consumers' CD music tracks in the cloud.
The AutoRip service debuted this morning. When consumers buy an AutoRip-enabled CD, they automatically get the MP3 version for free, and those MP3 versions will be available for streaming or downloading from Amazon's Cloud Player. The MP3 tracks are available immediately, even before the buyer receives the CD.
CNET's Greg Sandoval had first reported on the likely launch, citing multiple sources with knowledge of the plan. "This is the most significant initiative involving the CD in years," Sandoval wrote:
Amazon, which is well back of Apple's iTunes in music sales, will be able to tell the large number of consumers who still prefer their music on disc that they're getting more value for their money, and this could help the retailer take a larger share of that business. It's a smart move.
The service is available for CDs purchased well before now, too. Amazon said that it applies to any AutoRip-eligible CD purchased since 1998.
Here's how to listen to AutoRip music, per Amazon:
You can find all of your AutoRip music in the Purchased playlist in your Amazon Cloud Player library. AutoRip purchases are marked with an AutoRip logo in your Cloud Player library. You can stream and download all of your music from your Cloud Player library on your computer's browser or any of your Amazon Cloud Player enabled devices.
Amazon said that "thousands" of AutoRip CDs are available. Titles that appear on the list include Green Day's "Tre," Mumford & Sons' "Babel," Taylor Swift's "Red," Paul Simon's remastered "Graceland," and Eric Clapton's 1970s classic "Slowhand."
Only U.S. customers can take advantage of the service at the moment.
Editors' note, 9:07 a.m. PT: This story was updated several times during the morning with additional details.