Watching a Format Die: Amazon Music Pulls Support for MP3 Imports

While you can still purchase MP3s from Amazon, the e-commerce giant has started slowly backing away from the format.

This year, revenue from streaming music platforms has pushed all three major labels’ financial reports to record highs.

Sony Music has generated $1 billion from streaming.  Over the past four quarters, Warner Music Group commanded revenues of $3.58 billion.  For the first half of 2017, Universal Music Group generated $1.15 billion in streaming revenue.

Collectively, the “Big 3” make $14.2 million from streaming revenue.

So, how have digital downloads fared?  Not so well.

In its Q1 2017 report released last August, Sony Music reported a 22.1% drop in digital downloads.  The music label only brought in $117.4 million from the format.  In the same period last year, Sony Music generated $150.7 million from digital downloads.

Over the past four quarters, in a sign that music fans have started moving away from the medium, MP3 downloads only brought in $349 million collectively for the majors. Nothing to sneeze at, but a far cry from the billion-dollar gains of yesteryear.

Then, last week, Digital Music News found that Apple would phase out digitals downloads from the iTunes Store.

In a story tipped to DMN, the Cupertino-based company had started plans to terminate MP3s in 2016.  The current timetable shows a complete termination of the medium in 2019, shortly after the 2018 Christmas season.

Now, underscoring the death of MP3 downloads, Amazon Music has quietly scrapped MP3 imports.

Slowly backing away from the medium.

Amazon Music users had first noticed the company’s plans to roll back support for MP3 imports.  In a statement on its website, Amazon confirmed the news.

The Amazon Music Storage subscription plans (free and paid) are being retired.  New subscriptions will be accepted until January 15, 2018.  You can upgrade your Amazon Music storage plan, until that time.

Similar to Apple’s MP3 termination timetable, Amazon Music Storage will run until January 2019.  Then, the e-commerce giant will completely remove the service.

Since last Monday, users on the company’s free 250 storage plan could no longer upload new music to their MP3 locker.  Customers who have purchased MP3s on the website, however, will still be able to access these downloads.


Featured image by Imgflip

9 Responses

  1. G.K.

    If Amazon , Apple , etc. will terminate downloads and at the same time won’t offer HighRes Audioformat streaming option , this termination might also lead to an increase of CD or Vinyl sales , because even when their number is getting smaller and smaller , but there are still people out there who want their music in a better quality and/or accessible without being online . Sometimes you just have to be optimistic .

  2. Larry

    I recently subscribed to Tidal, which offers CD quality streams and even better hi-res streams for certain recordings. This single subscription has completely eliminated my need to play CDs or access my own folder of ripped CDs. It’s over. Streaming won.

  3. MG

    It depends on what you’re a fan of, it’s ok for commercial music but eliminating MP3s from the whole industry is absurd, especially that streaming platforms cater to more commercial established artists or trendy up-and-coming stuff. Personally, I’m not a fan of streaming services, the songs and albums they have in their collections, except in rare cases, are not what I want to listen to.

    If MP3s need to go underground, so be it. Bandcamp will always serve that purpose. I know tons of people that prefer downloading albums.

  4. Versus

    Many questions:
    – Does this purported goldmine of streaming makes its way to artists?
    – Does it trickle down to indie labels and self-releasing artists, or does it disproportionately favor the major labels and superstars (due to the mysterious calculations of pay-outs by streaming services)?
    – When we hear the words “record-breaking”, does that mean the income is actually better than during the record sales era, CD era? (Let’s remember to always used inflation-corrected monetary values to make comparisons fairly).

  5. Wake up...

    Attempting to eliminate mp3’s and trying to make streaming content alone trendy is B.S. and takes money away from Artists.
    As far as music sales in conjunction with selling on various formats, consumers should still have various music format OPTIONS to buy and this is also directly related to mp3’s. I am tired of dry-ass industry wankers trying to make and push music selling formats that only make money for them and not for every artist/band/musician actually making the music out there.