Tuesday August 23, 2016 1:53 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Amazon is working on a $5-a-month music subscription service that will be exclusive to owners of the company's internet-connected Echo speaker. According to Recode, Amazon is planning to introduce the service in September alongside another music streaming service that costs $10 a month, to compete more directly with the likes of Apple Music and Spotify. Industry sources say the company has yet to finalize deals with major music labels and publishers. One sticking point is reported to be whether Amazon sells the cheaper Echo-only service for $4 or $5 a month. The $10-a-month service is said to replicate features common to the streaming market, such as unlimited, ad-free playback and an option to download music for offline listening. The company already offers Amazon Music as part of its Amazon Prime subscription package, but the music catalog is limited compared to streaming services like Tidal and Google Play Music. The $5-a-month service would be different to discounted subscription models that other companies have tried in the past. Not only will the $5 service be restricted to Echo owners, it won't be available to use on smartphones, which is what most users of existing streaming services sign up for. Amazon started shipping the Echo last year and reportedly sold a million units. The company is aiming to sell three million more this year and 10 million in 2017, according to The Information.