Waiting for iTunes to come to SA? Don’t. Use Amazon MP3!

Update: I’ve written a follow up post and step by step guide on how you can buy music on iTunes from South Africa.
Amazon MP3
We have all bitched and moaned about iTunes not being available in South Africa, and that we currently have to put up with Pick n Play or Musica Digital to buy MP3’s, who have the worst search features and have a really small MP3 collection. Well no longer! Amazon are now selling DRM free (yeah baby!) MP3’s cheaper than iTunes, and us South African’s can buy them!

Amazon MP3

Amazon’s digital music portal features 2 million songs from 180,000 artists and 20,000 labels all without DRM. They even include songs from EMI and Universal, which iTunes no longer sell. The top 100 tracks will cost $.89 (Just over R6), with the rest costing $.99.

In order to download songs, you must install the Amazon MP3 downloader, which converts the .AMZ file you download to .MP3 and then automatically imports that song into either iTunes or Windows Media Player for you. So it literally is a glorified download manager.

Amazon MP3 Downloader

I downloaded Makes Me Wonder by Maroon 5 to test the service, and it worked perfectly. The screenshot above doesn’t show the downloaded song in the queue, because after I closed and then reopened the application after downloading the song, it no longer listed it there.

The songs are encoded in 256Kbps which is not CD quality, but you won’t be able to tell the difference. It’s those audiophiles that will be the only people complaining. ;-)

So now no more sulking about not being able to buy international artists MP3’s in South Africa anymore, just use Amazon MP3!

Disclaimer: I’m not 100% sure if this is legal from SA, or because I am buying it outside of America causes trouble, I don’t care. The person that made the song is getting paid. ;-) That is all in my mind that counts!

35 thoughts on “Waiting for iTunes to come to SA? Don’t. Use Amazon MP3!”

  1. I couldn’t agree more! I downloaded my first song from Amazon the other day. What a pleasure! It’s really nice to be able to buy the individual songs I want, have them in good quality and not be restricted to a specific number of devices or number of written cd’s. What an amazing price scheme aswell. R6 per song? I don’t think it can get much better than that.

    All they need to do now is get the rest of the record labels onboard. Somehow I don’t see that taking very long assuming Amazon MP3 takes off…

  2. When last did you buy a song from Amazon, when I try to do it, it gives me some location error and Amazon help says the service is only avalable to US customers?

  3. Hi Marthinus, I bought a song on Friday when I wrote this post.

    Mmm, I had so jimmy the payment slightly in that I included a US state and zipcode I found off the net, so it probably is US only, but as I said, I am sick and tired of SA and its lame excuses for not being able to provide a decent base of songs to buy online.

    There will be a way round to buying on Amazon from SA, and even if its not meant for us, the artists are getting their share! So all has to be good?

  4. I was also incredibly excited when I heard this announcement. I searched the Amazon site to find some country restriction, and then saw their Digital Terms and Conditions where it says that digital content is limited to the US.

    There are many parties involved in getting music on to your laptop or iPod, more than just the artist. One of the reasons artists sign up with big record companies rather than going indie is that they want their music distributed internationally. The record companies then sign agreements with other companies in each country to do the distribution there. The South African distrbution companies do not get a piece of the action when you download from iTunes or Amazon, and this is contrary to the agreement that they have, which makes it illegal for you to download here. Unfortunately our market is too small for Amazon/iTunes/record labels to bother correcting this.

    I don’t mean to be a party-pooper, but If it is illegal to download from AmazonMP3 or iTunes, why not just get your music illegally from Bit Torrent? Illegal is illegal at the end of the day. Sure, the artist might get a few cents extra, but their share of the pie is tiny. Most of the money is due to the record and distribution companies.

  5. Huh? I got all excited for nothing? Are you saying that if I provide an American address I will be able to d/l the MP3’s, even though I am located in SA and will be paying with an SA credit card?

    I saw some albums on there that I am just unable to locate in SA (without enriching fat cat bastards who did nothing to create the music).

    I’m all for the muso’s. Why do we have to put up with this BS in SA? It’s like the PayPal nonsense…

  6. Nope, doesn’t work, I provided the address that I was staying at in new York and tried to use a SA credit card and got the “We are sorry…
    We could not process your order. The sale of MP3 Downloads is currently available only to US customers located in the 48 contiguous states, Alaska, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia.

    We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.”

    So I guess if you managed to buy before you were just lucky. Back to buying iTunes gift certificates on eBay

  7. Hi

    I tried the amazon mp3 stuff but the only thing that keeps me from downloading the album that i’m so desperate for is when i want to download it the page asks me for new user information and i cannot select south africa!Only US is selectable.
    Can anybody plz help me with this!?!Is there a way to bypass this or not.

    Much Appreciated

  8. I love e-music,its great.$20 0r R160 for 75 downloads.First 50 are free.Wide range of music.Does not have ALL the modern singers but its got what I want.

  9. These restrictions making it illegal for South Africans to buy are bizarre. I’d be happy to pay for mp3’s, but I can’t see the advantage in paying for an illegal copy.

  10. I’ve used http://www.mediawob.com to buy from iTunes USA a few times now without problems. The response time has ranged between a few minutes and about 2 hours, but so far all the certs I bought from them worked just fine.

    As to the legalities: I can’t see how it can be illegal to download from the US store when you’re not in the US. It may be against their terms of service, but where does criminality come in? And as previous posters have said: as long as the musicians get their money I can sleep soundly at night :)

    1. You are correct ”
      as long as the musicians get their money I can sleep soundly at night “. Very good comment.

  11. Don’t know how you’ve managed it. ‘Went through the whole schlepp of downloading the driver, supplying all the details, just to be refused @ the final stage of downloading my purchase with the absolute CRAP excuse that it is available only to US residents in 48 of their States.
    Is there ANY LEGIT download sites available to South Africans? I thereby mean a usefull site where they actually knows the names of artists & NOT give me ‘Anton Goosen’, when I search for ‘Staind’!! Or not even know who ‘The Pierces’ are!!!

  12. aaaaargh! its driving me nuts! i just want to buy a bloody song! can anybody help in any way how to procure a legal download for itunes or any mp3 for that matter?

    ps – thank you for the comments listed – always helpful to hear from others… :)

  13. Hey, I tried to buy an album and I get this message?

    “We could not process your order. The sale of MP3 Downloads is currently available only to US customers located in the 48 contiguous states, Alaska, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia.

    We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you”

    So now what?

  14. I absolutely agree with those who are so frustrated. I’ve always been against piracy but it seems that in SA if you are not hellbent on buying actual, hardware like CDs, piracy is the only way to go. Why can’t shops like Musica keep in-store computers with MP3 format songs on them that we can pay for there and download to flash drives? It is just me or is that SUCH a logical solution to the SA problem? Or just get those (soon to be obsolete CD) shops to run online, legal MP3 downloads for SA?

  15. You cant get a subscription from E-Music anymore. We have been blocked their as well. At the moment all we have other than S.A. crap is Junodownload or Go-Music which is a Russian site. No wonder we resort to share the file!!!!!!!!

  16. 402 Payment Required – Honestly why they decided to leave that out of the internet specifications is beyond me.

    Could you imagine NOT having to go through Amazon to get what you want? Or paying for good music which is otherwise impossible to get through a distributor?

    Whoops, this IP has been listening for 4 months straight without a payment. Lets ban or ask them to make payment?

    Maybe 404 not found will work too?

  17. Hey there, I am trying to download some MP3’s form Amazon but it is still “only available in the US”
    If anyone can give me another legal option to purchase back tracks, it would be greatly appreciated. :)

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