Thanks to Amazon AutoRip, I'm listening to The White Stripes' Get Behind Me Satan, which I bought with my first CNET paycheque in June 2005. (They don't make 'em like that any more.) AutoRip is a nifty bit of cloud computing that scans your Amazon purchase history for CDs and gives you access to that music over the Internet.
It's a service that has been available to US users for a while and has just launched here in Britain. Just go to Amazon UK and click MP3s & Cloud Player in the top left. The Cloud Player menu shows all your music you've bought digitally from Amazon, but it'll immediately start checking your orders for compatible CDs.
After a few minutes of umming and aahing it showed me 437 songs from 31 albums I'd bought over the years, including Jack and Meg's melodic fifth album. I can now access those 256Kbps MP3s from any computer or mobile device running iOS or Android. Its app is nicely designed, with album art automatically displayed, and the ability to stream or download specific albums and playlists.
The only hiccup was a mislabelling -- instead of Jarvis Cocker's solo album Jarvis, I've got a four-track eponymous EP from a French musician called Jarvis. There's no help topic relating to that on the website, so I'll have to email them.
Any future CD you buy from Amazon (as long as it's been properly licensed) will automatically add the MP3s to Cloud Player, which means you don't have to wait for the record to arrive before you can listen to it.
One of the great benefits of the service is that CDs you've bought as presents for other people show up too, so I can listen to that trad jazz I got for my dad's birthday in 2004 and the Gregorian chant my auntie bafflingly enjoys. Wonderful. It means you can buy music you fancy for yourself as a gift and not have to go through the whole "How come the plastic wrapping has been removed?" conversation. Guilt-free present nicking -- result.
AutoRip goes back to 1999 and covers CDs, vinyl and cassettes -- no word on, sorry -- and Amazon reckons more than 350,000 albums are available.
What do you think of AutoRip? Would it make you more likely to buy music from Amazon? Let rip in the comments, or on our cloud-powered Facebook page.