So I would surmise based on the following job posting in Digital Media Wire:
Content Acq Mgr-Digital
Music – Amazon.com
senior business development manager for digital services.
Seek & license digital content worldwide. Identify business
opportunities; manage relationships and close deals.
Position offers strong potential for growth.
Ideal candidate has degree, is passionate about technology
and media, is strategic & analytical, knows media licensing,
and has a strong track record of sales or business
development results. Apply
Amazon have been hot and cold on digital music; mostly cold. They have a Free Music Downloads section but I doubt there is much traffic to it. I’m sure they’ve thought long and hard about what kind of a digital music play they could do. Given the margins on downloads, I don’t blame them for pausing. Still, it’s a game they need to be in. Otherwise consumers will become conditioned to visit iTunes or some of the other online music stores for paid downloads, and these retail stores will develop billing relationships with consumers — not a good thing for Amazon. So when they do launch their store, it may be for defensive reasons more than anything else. Given Amazon’s UE, its recommendations and its billing relationships, it ought to be able to acquire customers easily and squeeze better margins than some competitors.
That still leaves the little of issue of DRM and compatibility since WindowsMedia-DRM files can’t be played on iPods. Or maybe Amazon becomes Apple’s first Fairplay licensee. That would really shake things up. Given that Apple has licensed Amazon’s one-click ordering patents for the iTMS, maybe it’s not such a stretch!