has announced it will begin an international rollout of Amazon MP3, Amazon's DRM-free MP3 digital music store, this year.

Amazon MP3 offers customers DRM-free MP3s from all four major music labels as well as over 33,000 independent labels.

The download service - described as a real threat to iTunes' dominance - offers DRM-free music, where every song is playable on virtually any device, including PCs and Macs, iPods, Zunes (not that the Zune has launched outside of the States), Creative's players as well as music-enabled phones.

"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..." said Bill Carr, vice president of digital music.

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

Launched on in September 2007, Amazon MP3 offers over 3.3 million songs from more than 270,000 artists and every song and album in the store is available exclusively in the MP3 format without digital rights management (DRM) software and is encoded at 256kbps to deliver high audio quality.

Currently most songs available on Amazon MP3 are priced from 89 cents to 99 cents, while most albums are priced from $5.99 to $9.99.

The company is not revealing country-specific launch timelines.