Readers based in the USA might be interested to learn that part of the Virgin Prunes back catalogue is now available as unprotected MP3 files from the new Amazon MP3 service.
Songs can be purchased either individually from $0.99 or as traditional albums for $12.99 (prices correct at the time of writing). Longer songs cost slightly more, apparently rising in 99c increments for each additional 7 minutes.
While the re-released Virgin Prunes material has previously been available via other legal download services such as iTunes and Napster, this is the first time to the best of our knowledge that unprotected MP3 files have been available for purchase.
Using the unprotected MP3 format rather than proprietary protected formats like Apple’s AAC or Microsoft’s WMA means that the songs can be played on a wider variety of music players and can also be burned to CD without extra cost.
At present, the Amazon MP3 store is open to customers in the USA only. This is presumably to gauge the level of interest before further country-specific launches. There might also be publishing rights to negotiate elsewhere.
The Virgin Prunes MP3s at Amazon can be found here. Please feel free to share comments with other readers. We’d like to hear about your experiences with this service – good or bad – plus any other thoughts on this subject.