AutoRip CDs: Get The MP3s Free With The CD

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When the MP3 album is priced at $11.49 but the AutoRip CD, which includes a copy of the MP3 album is priced at $11.58, just NINE CENTS higher, buying the AutoRip CD is no-brainer for Prime members or anyone else who gets free shipping on the CD.

Have you discovered Amazon’s Auto-Rip CD program? For those who want to make the transition to digital music but still need the security blanket of owning their music on CD as well (but don’t want to go through the bother of converting their CDs to MP3 files, which I explain how to do in this post), this can be a great way to go.


What’s An Amazon AutoRip CD?

When you buy a CD on Amazon that’s marked as an “AutoRip” CD—this will be indicated in the ‘buy button’ area of the CD’s product page on Amazon, as well as on the product page for the MP3 version of the album—, you get a copy of the MP3 album FREE along with your purchase of the CD. Basically, Amazon is saving you the trouble of having to do the conversion to MP3 yourself while also getting more of its customers to start using its Cloud Player music service.

I’ve found that surprisingly often, the AutoRip CD is priced the same, or only slightly higher, than buying the MP3 album. I’ve also found that bargain-priced MP3 albums often have an AutoRip CD purchase option that’s also bargain priced for the duration of time the MP3 album’s on sale at a discount.

As soon as you’ve completed your purchase of the CD, you’ll find the MP3 album has been added to your Amazon “digital locker” under Your Account > Your Orders > Your Cloud Player, and if you own a Kindle Fire, it will also show up on the ‘Cloud’ tab of your Fire’s Music menu and will be available for listening or download on your Fire. The CD will be shipped to you as usual.


What’s Amazon Cloud Player?

Every Amazon customer has access to a free Cloud Player account, but you do have to register for it if this is a feature you’ve never used. Amazon allows you to store all digital music you purchase from Amazon for free on Amazon’s Cloud servers, and they provide the Cloud Player both on the Amazon site and as a handy app to access, play and download your purchased music. Cloud Player is like Amazon’s version of iTunes: a music library management tool and player.

To use Cloud Player for the web, after you’ve registered your Cloud Player account (you’ll use the same username and password as for your regular Amazon customer account during registration) go to Your Account > Your Cloud Player.

To use Cloud Player on any portable Android or Apple device, download the free Amazon MP3 app. I’ve linked to the Android version here, but it’s also available in the iTunes App Store for Apple devices.

This Boston’s Greatest Hits MP3 album is currently on sale for $5, and the AutoRip CD is just $5.99. If I were in the market for this album, which one do you think I’d buy?


If You Mainly Just Listen To MP3s, When and Why Does It Make Sense To Buy The AutoRip CD?

As anyone who regularly visits this site knows, I am all about the digital media. It’s right in the name of the site! But even for me, AutoRip CDs can be the smarter way to purchase music and I always check to see how the AutoRip CD price compares to the MP3 album price because of the following factors:

1. I am an Amazon Prime member, which means I get free shipping on the CD.

2. If the AutoRip CD is priced only a dollar higher (or less) than buying the MP3 album alone, it’s like getting a backup copy on disc for a buck or less, without having to do the backup myself.

3. I can file the hard copy CD away as a backup copy, keep it in the car, use it in a portable CD player at the beach, et cetera.

Technically, it would be unethical (and probably illegal, but the law’s a little murky in this area and I’m not an attorney) to sell it, but I don’t doubt there are some people who do this with their AutoRip CDs. It’s also legally questionable to keep the MP3 album for yourself and wrap up the CD to give as a gift, since that’s also considered a form of piracy: sharing copies of music you own, whether for free or for profit, is considered “illegal file sharing”.

But for anyone who’d like to dip a toe into the digital music water but still wants that hard copy CD, AutoRip CDs can be a great way to go.


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