How to Buy Amazon Albums Outside the USA

May 26th, 2011 § 11 comments

I wrote about Amazon’s MP3 service only working for USA-based customers last year, and since then I haven’t had to deal with them.

Lady Gaga’s new album, Born this Way, is available on Amazon for $0.99 for a limited time. iTunes has the same album for twelve bucks. This is a financial no-brainer—but I can’t buy it with my Canadian Amazon account (even though I’m sitting here in the USA right now…).

I think discounting something over ninety percent on one venue and not another is awkward and foolish. As someone who likes buying things from the iTunes store (now that it’s no longer DRMed!) I would be perfectly happy to buy it there, but I am not willing to pay such a premium.

But there’s a nice workaround: From my Canadian Amazon account and spending Canadian dollars on my Canadian credit card, I can buy Lady Gaga’s album—they’ll take my money!—and give it as a gift to someone with a USA-based Amazon account. They’ll take the money but still don’t think I should have the rights to the files!

There are numerous ways to transfer MP3 files between individuals once they are retrieved from Amazon, of course.

As a bonus, my subterfuge rewarded me with a free upgrade to 20GB of cloud storage at Amazon. I have no idea if I’m ever going to use it, but free is free.

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§ 11 Responses to How to Buy Amazon Albums Outside the USA"

  • Victor says:

    Have you looked into anything like Their service lets you use an IP from the country you are trying to get something from. It gets you around the whole country restriction issue. You’d be able to buy from american Amazon and download as though you were a computer in the US.

    Just thought I would mention it.


    • Adam says:

      Amazon, as far as I know, does some work regarding your credit card/address info to determine if you can order stuff. Even if I hit their MP3 section while in the USA, it tells me I can’t order.

  • Victor says:

    Well, that sucks. I do like your work around though.

    I’ve done that in reverse when getting books to a friend in the UK as long as the book was available on the Amazon UK site. It worked well and I wasn’t paying insane shipping.

  • Rob says:

    This trick no longer works… when trying to purchase as a gift, I get the following message from Amazon:

    This item cannot be purchased

    We’re sorry, but due to concerns regarding sales to certain countries, you will not be able to purchase this gift.

    I think they’ve shut this door too…

  • FS says:

    Thanks alot Adam. I just wanted to BUY mp3s from outside the USA rather than download it for free because I wanted to support the artists. Your help is much appreciated.

  • Douglas says:

    Here’s how you do it. Create a dummy amazon account that you access using a proxy with no credit card info on it. Buy an amazon gift card from your regular account and give it to your dummy account. Now buy mp3s, videos, etc with your dummy account.

  • Lov Batra says:

    Douglas, It worked… thanks

  • kelli says:

    Dear Douglas,
    I love you.

  • RG says:

    Nice work around…thanks

  • Lairor says:

    Do any of these methods still work? Even with a proxy and a fake address Amazon seems to somehow figure out I’m in Canada.

  • Atomos says:

    Unfortunately, Douglas’s trick no longer works. As of this writing, Amazon forces you to add a “payment method” (ie., a credit card) to your account before you can buy a single MP3, even if you’re redeeming a gift certificate to actually pay for the purchase. You can’t even download one of their free tracks without filling in your credit card info first! And obviously if the billing address on your credit card does not match the country you say you’re living in there’s no hope of getting your order through.

    Sheesh, even within the EU you have to live in Germany to buy from, and ditto for and – so much for the “common market” then!

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