It's been rumoured, it's been predicted, and now: it's live. Amazon have put their US downloads store onto the internet, with something under a fanfare - you wouldn't know it was there from the front page.
The Amazon blog explains the pricing structure:
You'll find more than just the bestsellers at those prices, though. More than 1 million of our 2 million songs are priced at 89 cents and most albums are priced from $5.99 to $9.99. We're bringing great selection and great prices to digital music.
We say explains; we didn't say it explains it well. Smells Like Teen Spirit can be yours for 89cents; the Lucksmith's World Encyclopaedia of 20th Century Murder is 99cents.
There's also a "downloader" tool which pledges to make downloading "even easier" - although we're not sure how complicated right-clicking and saving as can be.
It doesn't feel quite as pleasant to browse as the iTunes Music Store, but it's no worse than the usual sometimes-frustrating Amazon shopping experience. And, of course, it's not available in Britain yet. But this is the first download service which feels like we might have a duopoly ahead of us.