Amazon takes on Spotify with own music streaming service

Amazon's launches its own paid music streaming service

Rumors about Amazon prepping its own on-demand music streaming service have been popping up online ever since January. Fast-forward a few months later and Amazon’s new Music Unlimited is already here and ready for action.

The service will be competing against popular alternatives such as Spotify, Apple Music or Google Play Music. Music Unlimited is a paid service that costs $8 per month, or $80 a year for members of the Amazon’s Prime loyalty program.

Those of you who are not Prime members will be asked to take $10 out of your pockets on a monthly basis if you want to enjoy the perks of Music Unlimited. It’s the same fee charged by Spotify and Apple Music.

Amazon Echo users will be able to get the service for a low $4 a month – the cheapest anyone has ever had to pay to get access to unlimited on-demand music. With this move, the e-commerce giant is obviously trying to attract more attention to Echo, a speaker with access to Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa.

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A family plan – to be made available later this year – will allow a group of six people to gain access to the Music Unlimited for $14.99 a month or $149 a year.

Even with the paid music subscription ecosystem being a rather crowded field, Amazon is doing its best to differentiate Music Unlimited from the competition. Offering the ultra-affordable “for Echo” and putting an emphasis on voice commands are part of the strategy.

Buyer’s Guide: Headphones

Amazon Music Unlimited is home to “tens of millions of songs” selected from major and indie labels. The service is also be offering recommendations, algorithmic or hand-picked playlists and the option to search for songs by lyrics.

Now if you have an Amazon Echo laying around the house, Music Unlimited becomes even more exciting. At launch, the service will be bundled with behind-the-scenes artist commentaries, called Side-by-Sides featuring The Chainsmokers, Jason Aldean, Lindsey Stirling, Sting, Norah Jones, One Republic and Kongos. More will be added in the future.

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More than that, you can put Alexa to good work. For instance, you can simply ask it to play “God Is An Astronaut’s new song” and then hear the tune in question. You can also request a certain type of music suited to a particular mood. If it’s a rainy day outside, you can just say “Alexa, play melancholic music.” You can formulate the same request to include a particular genre of music, let’s say “Alexa, play some electronic music”.

Buyer’s Guide: Earbuds

It should also be noted the “for Echo” monthly subscription can work in combination with other two Amazon speakers, the Amazon Echo Dot and Amazon Tap. The former is a lot cheaper than the $180 Echo and is also powered by Alexa.

Amazon has already tried its hand at offering a music service. Remember Prime Music? It was provided free of charge to all Prime subscribers but offered a limited song catalog and wasn’t exactly intuitive. Music Unlimited is certainly a positive development if you don’t mind the additional fee.

Amazon has launched the new service in the United States today, but it will soon make it available overseas in the UK, Germany, and Austria.

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