Amazon MP3 store challenges iTunes with dirt cheap Coldplay

Celebrating the release of British alt-pop group Coldplay's new album "Viva la Vida: or Death and All his Friends," Amazon has taken the opportunity to offer customers the band's entire back catalog for $1.99 per album.

Even though Apple's iTunes has been running "exclusively on iTunes" commercials for Coldplay's newest album since May, "Viva.." is Amazon's top-selling album today. The retailer is now offering the album DRM-free for one dollar cheaper than iTunes.

In addition, Amazon has said it will make all of the band's prior albums available for practically nothing on a week-to-week promotional basis. Today, the 13-track "X & Y" is available for $1.99, or just around 15 cents a song. This will be followed by "A Rush of Blood to the Head," and "Parachutes."

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All of these albums cost about 70% more on iTunes, and Apple's history of competitive pricing is, well...nil, which Amazon looks to have this clearly in mind with a new sales push. The company will be doing an ongoing promotion called "Friday Five," where it offers five select albums for five dollars each starting on Fridays and lasting through the following weekend, and it will also offer a "Daily Deal" where a single album will be made available for a deep discount.


The band Coldplay as expertly envisioned for a recent iTunes commercial

NPD data from the beginning of this year showed that iTunes had surpassed all other retailers in music sales, of both hard copy media and data. Amazon's MP3 store has only a fraction of the customer base that iTunes has: The Los Angeles Times cites a Forrester Research report that surveyed 1,273 people in April, 62% of whom said they had bought music from iTunes, while only 11% had done the same through Amazon.

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