Amazon Music Unlimited Launches With $3.99 Echo-Only Subscription Option
Amazon today launched Amazon Music Unlimited, its new standalone, on-demand streaming service.
Amazon Music Unlimited is distinct from the company's Prime-only music library, which offers access to "over a million songs." By contrast, the new service promises access to "tens of millions" of songs from all the major labels. Prices start at $7.99 per month for Prime members and $9.99 per month for non-members, the latter of which puts it in the same cost bracket as Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play Music, and Tidal's standard price plans. A similar free 30-day trial is also being offered.
In addition, Amazon is offering a separate $3.99 subscription plan for owners of connected speakers from the company's popular Echo range. The plan lets them stream music to Amazon's devices, but only those devices. A $14.99 per month (or $149 per year) family subscription plan for up to six people is currently in the works, and should become live later this year.
Amazon says its library includes music from Sony, Universal, and Warner, as well as hundreds of indie labels, with thousands of curated playlists and personalized stations also accessible via the company's recently revamped mobile app. However, the service enters a crowded market already commanding millions of subscribers, which makes it increasingly difficult for newcomers to differentiate their service. In this respect, Amazon is likely betting on enticing existing Prime subscribers, and perhaps more significantly, those eligible for its Echo-only option, which could prove popular with a user base already familiar with the company's ecosystem.
For example, the Echo-based service plan integrates with the speaker's intelligent assistant Alexa, meaning voice commands can be used to play particular songs and/or playlists based on specific criteria – to play songs from a particular decade, or to match a mood, say. Indeed, Echo owners can sign up for Amazon Music Unlimited simply by asking Alexa to start their free trial.
Amazon is estimated to have sold over 4 million smart speakers so far, and is hoping to sell 10 million by the end of 2017, which could put it on course for a subscription coup. For its own part, Apple is said to be pressing ahead with plans for its own connected smart home device, powered by Siri, which would rival Echo. Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine commented on the future of Apple Music, saying that Apple is "building the right hybrid," which will be "technologically and culturally adept" and "have a voice," rather than just be a utility to listen to music.
Amazon Music Unlimited goes live in the U.S. today and is set to debut in the U.K., Germany, and Austria later this year.
Top Rated Comments
Their whole company is tech with the main retail business being web and mobile based.
Also one of their most profitable arms is AWS (Amazon Web Services) which is a huge Corporate Outsourcing company for Cloud Computing, Online App Serving and Backup etc.
Not to mention the fact that once they get their drone programme "off the ground" they will no doubt licence that technology / service to other industries.
I do agree with you that Amazon are late to the game with music streaming, however, but it doesn't really matter. With the exception of audiophiles, people will weigh up the content availability versus cost and make a decision on what gives them the best music selection for their buck. They won't really care about loyalty to the "brand", not yet anyway.
There's also no contract model in this industry as yet, so currently people are free to switch monthly as the landscape changes.
Setting a great example for Apple to emulate :D
Especially UK Prime members who already do not receive all of the additional Kindle benefits etc the US customers receive.