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Amazon’s MP3 Downloader and iTunes

March 18, 2009

in digital media,Internet,Macintosh

by Nathaniel Poor

If you’re an iTunes junkie like I am, the thought of using some other online service to get music would never occur to you. It is sure to be in some strange format and probably won’t work with iTunes.

But no. Check out Amazon’s MP3 store. I was sucked in recently when I heard they had U2’s Boy for $5 for a limited time. Yes, $5. And even better, the songs are automatically added to iTunes.

Amazon is running a solid competitor to iTunes, given the selection and variable pricing. But one item that might make you hesitate is that you need to install Amazon’s MP3 Downloader and it then handles the downloading of songs from Amazon. What does this downloader do? Where do files end up?

Amazon MP3s

Amazon MP3s

By default, Amazon’s MP3 Downloader will make an “Amazon MP3” folder in your Music folder, and, just like in your iTunes folder, items will be placed in folders first by artist and then, within that, by album. The music will automatically be added to iTunes. You won’t even notice the difference from within iTunes.

Amazon music folders

Amazon music folders

If you really want, you can change the Amazon MP3 Downloader preferences so that songs are instead placed in the iTunes folder. This still won’t make any difference in iTunes. The main things that Amazon’s Downloader does are to queue downloading tracks and correct for interrupted downloads.


If you want you can pause a download, but according to Amazon this is not recommended if you are going to pause the download for over three hours. Clearly they keep track of the “download in progress” status but not forever, where forever is three hours long.

So, try it out if you haven’t already.

(Disclaimer: I do not work for, nor have I ever worked for, Amazon or any of its affiliates, nor do any of my close friends or family. And I still prefer having music on the original CD.)

Nathaniel Poor holds a Ph.D. in communication studies from the University of Michigan, where he studied media, technology and society. He has owned at least one Macintosh at any given time since 1988. He has built a PC, run Linux, and is a proponent of open source ideology. He is always on call for tech support for his mom. Currently he is a freelance researcher in New York City.