Although sales of digital music tracks are rising year-on-year, it's clear that U.S. music lovers are still spending most of their hard-earned cash on physical media. According to Nielson SoundScan (which measures point-of-sale of recorded music products), of the 316 million albums purchased stateside in 2012, 193 million were on CD, compared to 118 million digital downloads. Amazon has launched a new service called AutoRip that will save many of those spinning disc buyers the trouble of converting the just-arrived CD to MP3 for playback on a modern portable music player. Anyone who buys an AutoRip CD from the online retail giant will also get a digital copy free-of-charge.

Amazon says that it's current AutoRip CD library runs to more than 50,000 albums from every major record label and more are being added all the time. Customers wanting to take advantage of the new service will need to look out for the AutoRip logo when searching through its vast CD music catalog. On completion of the checkout procedure, a link will appear to either play the newly-purchased tracks online immediately or download them for transport to a favored device for offline enjoyment.

AutoRip MP3s are stored in the user's Cloud Player library and don't count against Cloud Player storage limits. From there, the songs can be played on any Kindle Fire, Android phone or tablet, iPhone, iPod touch, Samsung TV, Roku, Sonos, as well as through any web browser.

What makes this service even more appealing is that customers who've bought CDs at any time since the company opened its Music Store in 1998 will find a free high-quality (256 Kbps) MP3 version landing in the Cloud Player library as soon as they become AutoRip eligible.

It's not all good news, however. Amazon has informed us that the service is currently available in the U.S. only – which could explain why my legacy purchases have yet to appear in my Cloud Player library ...

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