Lady Gaga beats Amazon, at least for one day

Discounted copies of the pop singer’s new album overwhelm Amazon’s servers.

Thad Rueter

For a day at least, the pop singer proved that she was a greater force than the world’s largest online retailer.

Amazon.com yesterday was selling for 99 cents digital copies of Lady Gaga’s new album, “Born This Way.” The Amazon price was $11 cheaper than the price at Apple Inc.’s iTunes store. The Amazon promotion also gave the retailer, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, a way to make more consumers aware of its Cloud Drive service, which enables customers  to store up to five gigabytes, or more than 80 hours, of their own MP3 digital music files; consumers who shopped for the MP3 version of the Lady Gaga album saw a promotion for the service right below the product description.

But demand for discounted copies of Lady Gaga’s newest release overwhelmed Amazon’s servers, which slowed and eventually stalled by afternoon, leaving consumers unable to download or listen to the album, according to press reports, Twitter messages and comments left by consumers who reviewed the album on the Amazon site. “Reminds me why I usually use iTunes,” said one consumer in a Tweet.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and the retailer’s only message about the problem was apparently a Tweet posted Monday that said, “We're currently experiencing very high volume. If you order today, you will get the full @ladygaga album for $.99. Thanks for your patience.”

To further promote Cloud Drive, Amazon also cut the price of more than 200 songs to 69 cents, undercutting Apple Inc.’s pricing by 30 cents to 60 cents per song. Amazon is selling 1,500 full-length albums for $5 each through May.


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