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If you’re like me, you’ve probably got hundreds of old CDs laying around the house that rarely get used.

Now, Amazon is launching a nifty little service to get some digital airtime out of those old CDs, as wel as newer purchases. The company is introducing AutoRip, a free service that converts CDs purchased via over the past 15 years into free MP3 versions, with tracks automatically added to an individual’s Cloud Player account.

Yes, that means you can finally get rid of all of those Usher, Backstreet Boys and Shania Twain CDs in the closet. More than 50,000 albums are available via AutoRip, including more recent albums like Adele’s “21” and Maroon 5’s “Overexposed.”

The concept seems pretty cool, and it is a good way for to take advantage of its legacy e-commerce business  of selling physical CDs. (Yes, we’ve come so far to call shipping CDs from an online retailer a legacy business). The offering also is yet another shot by Amazon to take on Apple, the undisputed leader in digital music sales.

It also would compete with services such as Murfie, which allows individuals to store their CDs offsite and then stream them online.

Amazon must think AutoRip is a pretty big deal, since founder Jeff Bezos offers a rare quote in the press release. (He’s typically absent from product announcements).

“What would you say if you bought music CDs from a company 15 years ago, and then 15 years later that company licensed the rights from the record companies to give you the MP3 versions of those CDs… and then to top it off, did that for you automatically and for free?” said Bezos. “Well, starting today, it’s available to all of our customers – past, present, and future – at no cost. We love these opportunities to do something unexpected for our customers.”

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