The internet's biggest retailer is set to take on iTunes in the music download sector.

Amazon to launch music download service

A number of news sources have reported that Amazon is in talks with the four major music companies with a view to launching a DRM-free music download store as early as next month.

With Apple’s iTunes currently dominating the sector, with nearly 80 per cent of the market, Amazon may be the only internet retail brand strong enough to topple iTunes from its perch.

EMI, which only recently signed a deal with Apple to offer DRM-free music files for download through iTunes, is thought to be the front-runner of the major music companies in this venture.

The news comes as Amazon announced that its first quarter profits more than doubled. It made a profit of $111 million in Q1 07 compared to $51 million in Q1 06.

"We’re pleased with our overall strong growth and especially with the number of people joining Amazon Prime," said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon (pictured). "Prime continues to grow as a percentage of overall units shipped, and we’re very grateful to our Amazon Prime members."

Amazon Prime is its first-ever membership program, introduced in February 2005. For a flat membership fee of $79 per year, Amazon Prime members get unlimited, express two-day shipping for free, with no minimum purchase requirement on over a million eligible items sold by

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