While music fans continue to buy physical copies of their favorite releases, those CDs and vinyl LPs are often ripped into digital MP3s for convenience’s sake.
Earlier this year, Amazon launched a service called AutoRip, which offered CD purchasers of participating titles a free, high-quality 256-kbps digital version of the music added to their personal cloud. The company has now updated the program to include all vinyl purchases ever made in Amazon’s online music store, going back to its inception in 1998.
“AutoRip has been wildly popular with customers since it launched earlier this year,” said Amazon’s Vice President of Digital Music, Steve Boom, in a press release. “It’s a fun experience to suddenly find CDs you purchased just today — or 15 years ago — added automatically and free of charge to your digital library.
“We’re thrilled to extend this experience to vinyl records,” Boom continued. “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 not every title in Amazon’s vast music store is part of the AutoRip service, there are still thousands of records across all genres that are marked with a special icon signifying their positive AutoRip status, including albums from Bob Marley, David Bowie, Amy Winehouse, Miles Davis and Daft Punk.
It’s worth noting that, in recent years, most record labels selling newly-pressed vinyl have offered a free download card for the album tucked in the record sleeve. However, this new service could certainly benefit those who used Amazon to purchase their vinyl in the years pre-dating this industry practice.
Vinyl has seen an increase in sales in recent years, thanks in large part to “holidays” like Record Store Day (this year’s is April 20) and Black Friday. Both highlight exclusive vinyl releases from big-name artists while encouraging music fans to buy from their local record stores – which are pretty much the exact opposite of Amazon.