Amazon yesterday announced early details of an international strategy for its Amazon MP3 direct-download music store. The online retailer says it will unveil versions of the store outside of the US beginning this year; the company declines providing an exact timeframe for when these stores will appear but emphasizes that the stores will remain DRM-free, allowing songs bought from the store to work with most any operating system, software, and portable media player without rights limits.
No mention is made of which countries will first receive the service, though Amazon currently operates online stores in just a few countries, including Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the UK. Which labels will carry over to these countries are unknown but are likely to include all four major worldwide music labels as well as numerous independents.
The move should in numerous cases offer one of the few completely protection-free music stores available in some of these countries. While stores such as eMusic are available in some areas, most stores (including Apple iTunes and Canada’s Puretracks) only offer some of their catalog without copy protection.