Disclosure: I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. This helps keep this website running.
Amazon is a great choice of where to buy digital music, because you are then able to play those MP3's on your different devices (desktop, laptop, phone, etc). For this tutorial, I will show you how to buy an MP3 on Amazon.com on your desktop or laptop computer and download it with step by step illustrations. It's similar but not quite the same as placing an order for a physical product with a shopping cart, so even if you're very familiar with that, this is going to look just a little bit different.
In another article, I also cover how to download your past MP3 purchases again (without having to buy it again) and move your MP3's onto your other devices. For now though, we are looking at how to buy an MP3 track at Amazon and download it onto the desktop or laptop device you're using.
First, log in to Amazon.com on your laptop or desktop computer. In the search bar, type in the name of the tune you are looking for, and just to the left of that, use the category menu (circled in image below) to select "Digital Music":
Click on the search result that seems best for you. In this case, my one was 3rd on the list they gave. Once you have clicked on your tune, it will go on to that specific tune on Amazon Music (it has a dark themed background - that's OK) and your page will look something like this:
As you can see, in the image above, in my case the tune was part of an album. That's fine, it will still let you buy the individual tune even if it's part of an album; you don't have to buy the whole album if you don't want to.
To buy the one track
If that was the tune you wanted, just click on the 3 dots at the right of the tune as shown in the image below.
An option to buy the MP3 of just that track will come up. Just follow the prompts.
If you want to buy the whole album
If instead you want to buy the whole album, scroll up to the top of the list of tracks and go to "Purchase Options" and "MP3 Music" as seen in the image below.
This will take you to a fresh page for that album where there is a yellow button to buy the whole album near the top right.
How is digital music different from other Amazon purchases?
Digital music purchases work the same way as all your other Amazon purchases, with a couple of main differences:
- MP3's do not go into a shopping cart like your physical purchases do. Therefore, if you want to buy 5 songs then it has to be done in 5 transactions. Yes, it's a bit annoying.
- After you buy it, you will have the option to download it. To make life easy, take the download option once it presents itself! If it's too late, it's OK you can still download it again without having to pay money again (I show you how to do this in a separate article).
Once you hit the buy button, here is what happens:
Don't stress too much about the Amazon app that they're pushing. There are better ways to get your music onto your phone - if you use their phone app to listen to your tunes, you could wind up chewing through your data plan. I usually just close that dialog box to make sure I'm not getting into anything I don't need. Next, you'll get this window, where you have the option to download:
I know it's more tempting to press "Play now", but really you do want to press "Download purchases" so you can have your music on your computer and not have to log into Amazon every time you want to listen to it. Once you press the download button, you'll get a dialog box come up from your computer asking if you want to save it, so go ahead and confirm that. I recommend saving it into your "Music" folder and not the default "Downloads" folder. Most computers and laptops have a pre-made Music folder, and this is where your computer's built-in music player will tend to look first for tunes. But the main thing is to download it somewhere on your computer.
That's it! How to play your music
In the example above I bought just one track so it's an MP3 file that I downloaded. But if you bought an album, it'll arrive as a zip file, by which I mean it'll end with .zip. That's fine; think of the zip file as kind of like a box - the MP3 tracks from your album will be inside it. Go to whatever folder on your computer that you downloaded your zip file, and double-click on the zip file. If that doesn't unbox it for you, then right-click on it and one of the options will be "unzip", select that and it will unbox it. You should now be able to see all your MP3 tracks here.
If you're not sure how to play your MP3, just double-click on the track; your computer's default music player will know what to do with it.
If you're in search of inspiration, take a look at the digital music category on Amazon.com - you'll be able to click on subcategories you like and explore from there.