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Amazon Tacks Vinyl Siding Onto Digital Music Locker

Internet retailer offers to convert select LPs purchased since 1998 to MP3s

While audiophiles may be horrified at the thought of parting with their vinyl LPs, Amazon.com is hoping to usher them into the digital-music age with an offer to automatically “convert” their records into MP3s.

Amazon extended its AutoRip service, launched in January for CDs, to vinyl records. Under the program, when customers purchase an AutoRip vinyl record or compact disc from Amazon, digital copies of the music will be automatically added to their Cloud Player libraries.

In addition, Amazon customers who bought records included in the AutoRip program dating back to 1998 can add digital copies of those albums in their digital lockers.  Cloud Player offers up to 250 imported MP3s for free, with a premium subscription $24.99 per year for up to 250,000 songs.

Company spins feature as eliminating cumbersome step of ripping records to digital. “Many of our music customers are vinyl fans and it’s traditionally been very difficult to make digital versions of vinyl records,” Amazon digital music veep Steve Boom said in a statement.

Internet retail giant said thousands of records, representing  every major label, are available for AutoRip. Those include “Babel” by Mumford & Sons, “Unorthodox Jukebox” by Bruno Mars, “All that Echoes” by Josh Groban, “Greatest Hits – Chapter 1,” by Kelly Clarkson, and self-titled records from Alabama Shakes and The Lumineers.

Program bowed with more than 50,000 albums for CD purchasers, and has since added several thousand more titles. Amazon “cannot comment on the total audience of AutoRip users,” a rep said.

CDs or records given as gifts aren’t eligible for AutoRip conversion. Program is available only in the U.S. If customers cancel a CD or LP purchase, Amazon will charge them the then-current price for MP3 tracks that have been converted under AutoRip.

Music in Amazon Cloud Player can be played on range of devices, including Kindle Fire tablets, Android phones or tablets, Apple iOS devices, Samsung TVs, Roku set-tops and web browsers.

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