Amazon AutoRip service gives out free digital copies of CDs
Online retailer Amazon has launched a service that stores free digital versions of CDs bought via its store.
AutoRip, which is only available in the US, will automatically keep a digital copy of eligible CDs in a customer's cloud storage account.
Customers will be able to access the music via Amazon's Cloud Player on the web or via tablet and smartphone apps.
Amazon has drawn up a catalogue of 50,000 CDs that are eligible for AutoRip.Music market
The catalogue has been compiled from those albums that have proved most popular with Amazon customers in the last 15 years.
The list includes "Dark Side of the Moon" by Pink Floyd, "Thriller" by Michael Jackson and "21" by Adele.
Any customer who has bought a CD in the catalogue from Amazon since the firm started trading in 1998 will be eligible to get a free MP3 copy of it. Amazon said it anticipated creating copies of millions of CDs.
"When we picked those 50,000 titles we focused on having a substantial majority of our physical CD sales covered," said Steve Boom, head of digital music at Amazon in a statement.
The service potentially makes it much easier for people to build up a library of digital music. Before now most CD owners had to rip the songs themselves to create digital versions.
The Amazon Cloud Player can be accessed a web browser, as well as on Android phones, iPhones, Kindle Fire tablets and other devices.
The move is widely seen as an attempt to take market share from arch-rival Apple's iTunes music store.
The Cupertino giant has similar cloud storage services for music and leads the market with more than 50% of the market share, while Amazon has less than 15%. Google offers a similar service.