Ars Technica is a wonderful tech news site that’s fast becoming more and more like a real news source, with journalists and investigation and everything!

Anyway, recently they reviewed Amazon’s new MP3 store. It sounded very positive because they sell straight MP3 files with no rights management, and so the files will play on my iPod.

So yesterday I went to the store and browsed. The top 100 albums are all on sale for $8.99, and I saw a new They Might Be Giants album in the list that I didn’t know about, so I bought it. It was a great experience. You first download a little downloader app that fetches all the songs and adds them directly to the iTunes library. Because they’re MP3, they will be playable on Tivo, Xbox, or any other home media device. We’re growing increasingly dependent on these sorts of devices around the house, so this is important. Plus the 256kbps encoding is of a very high quality, the highest of any store (tied with Apple’s own DRM-free music). And the prices is cheaper than iTunes.

One moral is that the iTunes-iPod ecosystem is not so “sticky” for me. I left the iTunes music store to use Amazon with no internal debate at all. Now whenever I want new music, I’ll check Amazon first, then fall back to iTunes.

Oh, one disadvantage of Amazon: they only have 2 million songs compared to iTunes’ 6 million. But surely that’s temporary and soon all the stores will have all the same stuff.