Amazon has announced that it will soon be launching its Amazon MP3 digital music store in international territories. The store currently offers DRM-free tracks to US residents, but will soon be available to those of us in the UK too.

The fact that the tracks are DRM-free means that they are playable on pretty much any computer, and on any portable device. Whether that be a PC or Apple Mac, Creative MP3 player or iPod, it doesn't matter.

What's more, Amazon MP3 is the only retailer to offer customers DRM-free tracks from all four major music labels as well as over 33,000 independent labels.

All this means that Apple's iTunes could finally be about to meet its match.

Genuine contender

"We have received thousands of e-mails from Amazon customers around the world asking us when we will make Amazon MP3 available outside of the US. They can't wait to choose from the biggest selection of high-quality, low-priced DRM-free MP3 music downloads which play on virtually any music device they own today or will own in the future," said Bill Carr, Amazon.com vice president of Digital Music.

"We are excited to tell those customers today that Amazon MP3 is going international this year."

Launched on Amazon.com in September 2007, Amazon MP3 offers the web's biggest selection of DRM-free MP3 downloads, which now includes over 3.3 million songs from more than 270,000 artists. That's an impressive claim, considering the competition the service faces.

No pricing information has been revealed for the UK Amazon MP3 store yet, but you can expect that they will be fairly competitive with those of Apple's iTunes store. There, tracks currently cost 79p each, with DRM-free ones available for the same price.