Amazon Now Offering Free Ad-Supported Music to Alexa Users in the United States

Thursday April 18, 2019 5:03 PM PDT by Juli Clover

Earlier this week, rumors suggested Amazon would launch a free, ad-supported music service, and today, Amazon indeed announced the debut of a free music option for Amazon Alexa users.

Alexa device owners in the United States who do not have a Prime membership or a subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited are now able to listen to an ad-supported selection of top playlists and stations at no cost with Amazon Music on the Amazon Echo and other compatible Alexa-enabled devices.


The new ad-supported service adds more utility for Alexa users who do not otherwise have access to a music subscription service.

Alexa users can ask Alexa to play stations based on songs, artists, eras, or genres, and can also ask to hear Amazon Music's top global playlists.

Amazon's free music offering is available alongside its Prime music service, which provides access to more than two million songs, and Amazon Music Unlimited, Amazon's on-demand music service priced starting at $9.99 per month ($7.99 for Prime members). Amazon Music Unlimited allows users to access more than 50 million songs.

Given the limitations of Amazon's new free ad-supported service for Alexa users, it does not appear that it will turn Amazon into a major Spotify competitor. Spotify has its own free ad-supported service and is one of the few music services to offer such an option.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
13 months ago
I would listen to my own music before I subjected myself to more ads, not to mention being limited to what could be listened to. I am allergic to ads.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
13 months ago
This is a brilliant way to build market share and sell more devices. Apple is tragically late to the smart speaker game and badly miscalculated their popularity. This is a hugely important strategic area that they have shanked. If they had led the way into home assistants, Alexa would not have taken hold the way it did, I don’t know how Apple gets out of this mess, but they have ceded a huge market to Amazon that will have a crippling effect down the road as all the kids who grow up with Alexa start using Amazon services and devices as they get older, instead of Apple. No reason they couldn’t make an Alexa phone that would probably do much better than their original. Tough sitch for Apple.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
13 months ago

Amazon took the market share by basically selling echo dots at disposable prices. They could do this because they, like Google/Android, harvest a bunch of your data, sell it to others, and subject you to ads. I paid for Amazon’s Music service for a year. Maintaining a playlist is a near impossible experience because songs come and go all the time. When my year was done, I canceled without hesitation.

Wrong. Completely wrong. Amazon was first to market with AI and they absolutely blindsided Apple and Google and everyone else who had NO IDEA WHATSOEVER such a thing could exist.

Amazon has been the great innovator of the last decade and they continue to be.

Apple and Google were caught with their pants down.


If a decent Alexa phone is released by Amazon, Apple is toast. I and all my friends will jump off the Apple yaght so fast it will flip over.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
13 months ago
Twenty years after Napster, through iTunes, and people circle back to radio?? Says a lot about how access does not often engender interest. Let me guess, these devices have "scan" feature too...
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
13 months ago

Amazon took the market share by basically selling echo dots at disposable prices. They could do this because they, like Google/Android, harvest a bunch of your data, sell it to others, and subject you to ads. I paid for Amazon’s Music service for a year. Maintaining a playlist is a near impossible experience because songs come and go all the time. When my year was done, I canceled without hesitation.

My guess is that you, like me, care about music. The problem is, many people just like to have music on in the background, and don’t care that much. Apple doesn’t offer a tier for those people, and are seeding a huge amount of market share in an area where market share actually matters.

And as far as the quality of Apple Music, it’s certainly better than Amazon music, but still lags behind Spotify in both audio quality and discoverability of new music. When I play a single song in Spotify, it seemlessly and effortlessly continues to play music similar to that song, and the algorithm for finding similar sounding/feeling songs is much better. Apple Music requires you to deliberately create a radio station based on that song, which is clunky, and then clutters your radio station tab with a station that you might not want to keep around.

I use Apple Music but will consider switching if it doesn’t get significantly better after WWDC.
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Don’t see that brilliant way. Have an echo for that sits unused. If I bought a HomePod it most definitely would be used. However I have no need for another speaker (already have 2) so Apple Music gets streamed to those. As far as the dot, I gave it a shot and dislike Alexa.

I have dozens of friends who don’t think or care about tech as much as I do. They all use Alexa and Echo and it works fine for their needs. None of them, not one, has a HomePod. I’m the only one.

Apple is really screwing the pooch here. They need to come out with a cheap HomePod for average users this year, and improve Siri and HomeKit stat, or it will be too late.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
13 months ago

This is a brilliant way to build market share and sell more devices. Apple is tragically late to the smart speaker game and badly miscalculated their popularity. This is a hugely important strategic area that they have shanked. If they had led the way into home assistants, Alexa would not have taken hold the way it did, I don’t know how Apple gets out of this mess, but they have ceded a huge market to Amazon that will have a crippling effect down the road as all the kids who grow up with Alexa start using Amazon services and devices as they get older, instead of Apple. No reason they couldn’t make an Alexa phone that would probably do much better than their original. Tough sitch for Apple.

Amazon took the market share by basically selling echo dots at disposable prices. They could do this because they, like Google/Android, harvest a bunch of your data, sell it to others, and subject you to ads. I paid for Amazon’s Music service for a year. Maintaining a playlist is a near impossible experience because songs come and go all the time. When my year was done, I canceled without hesitation.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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