Today, on the release date of Lady Gaga’s newest album, “Born This Way,” Amazon is selling the album as a digital download for just 99 cents. Yes, for just 99 cents, you can get 14 songs, including the hit single “Born This Way,” plus a digital booklet. Altogether, it’s a savings of $12.87. By comparison, the same album is available on iTunes for $11.99. The one-day deal, which is already generating a lot of buzz, is presumably meant to promote Amazon’s Cloud Player, so along with a practically free Lady Gaga album, users who make the purchase also get 20 GB of storage space for free.
But the promotion is already running into some bugs. So many people have been bombarding the site to download the album that Amazon’s servers have all but collapsed. Customers are complaining that only a few of the songs are being downloaded to their cloud music player account, or that all of the songs are being downloaded but only a couple of them are actually playing. Indeed, I bought the album (even though I have an iPhone and Amazon’s cloud music player doesn’t have an iOS app—I’m going ghetto and burning a CD), but only five of the fourteen songs downloaded to my music player account.
But 20 GB of storage space for 99 cents is still nothing to sneeze at. Apple’s cloud storage program MobileMe charges $100 for 20 GB of file and email storage, although MobileMe doesn’t really compare to Amazon’s cloud music player as its designed to synchronize all of your different Apple products, not specifically to enable users to access their music from different computers and devices. Typically, Amazon offers 20 GB of cloud music player storage for $20 a year.
Unfortunately for Lady Gaga, the technical problems have resulted in an average rating of only 3 stars for her album as customers use the review section to vent their frustrations. As one customer complained: “I'm not disappointed that something went wrong, stuff happens. I'm REALLY disappointed that Amazon makes it VERY hard to find out where to complain or contact them.” True: it is hard as hell to find a phone number to call.
Another customer griped: “I've been waiting nearly two hours, and have not even been able to download one single song. Every download attempt fails and when I retry, it ‘waits’ forever and fails again...too bad for Lady Gaga that she ends up with lousy ratings because you have rotten tech help...the rating I gave WOULD have been a five, but the aggravation lowered it by half.”
Lady Gaga’s marketing team must be frothing at the mouth right now. It’s likely that Amazon is taking the $13 loss in the first place, but add to that potential legal problems with Lady Gaga’s representatives, who are surely unhappy about the fact that Gaga’s new album has been essentially labeled a dud, and Amazon could have a big headache up ahead.
So to cheer everyone up, here is Lady Gaga's video for "Born This Way," which features interesting Donna Haraway-esque themes and posthumanist implications. And there's a unicorn.