OK, so Jeff Bezos doesn't walk on water, and DRM-free music downloads aren't exactly the second coming -- but the fact that Amazon sees fit to expand its digital music store to international markets means that the model is working. In last quarter's earnings call, Bezos said that his company's freshly launched MP3 sales weren't cutting into CD sales as far as he could tell, possibly paving the way for music labels to open up their catalogs even further. There are 3.3 million songs on offer right now, versus more than 6 million in Apple's
This is the corollary to the ad-supported music streaming service that Yahoo!
Amazon and Apple have a leg up on the competition because they can fall back on long working relationships with the record labels. "Listen, guys, we've pushed out millions of your CDs -- can we have a shot at this fly-by-night download thing, please? Promise to stop if it hurts." RealNetworks
Expect to hear good things about download sales on Wednesday night, when Amazon reports earnings. It won't be enough to tip this quarter's earnings very far, but it's a sign of the times and a promise for the future. And Amazon divided the light from the darkness. And it was good.