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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.

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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.

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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.

Article Link: Amazon Music Unlimited Launches With $3.99 Echo-Only Subscription Option
 

KeanosMagicHat

macrumors 68000
May 18, 2012
1,546
544
Bit of a slap in the face for all Prime subscribers expecting them to pay more. It's now created a two tier Music offering. (Three tier if you factor in the lower priced Echo customer subscriptions).

Especially UK Prime members who already do not receive all of the additional Kindle benefits etc the US customers receive.
 

tibi08

macrumors 6502a
Sep 17, 2007
703
75
Brighton, UK
Bit of a slap in the face for all Prime subscribers expecting them to pay more. It's now created a two tier Music offering. (Three tier if you factor in the lower priced Echo customer subscriptions).

Especially UK Prime members who already do not receive all of the additional Kindle benefits etc the US customers receive.

My thoughts exactly - the discount for Prime members is a little pathetic. And the two tier offering seems very confusing.

This should have been included in the Prime offering considering what we pay, or else let us build an a-la-carte Prime package with Prime Video, Prime Music, Next Day Delivery, with pricing according to what is selected, rather than a fixed price offering which randomly doesn't include full music.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
68,696
36,453
Boston
I guess they had the courage to charge 3.99 :eek:

:p

Seriously, that's a great price, and even for prime members that's a nice price.

I know Apple doesn't compete on price, but if they want to continue to be players in this market they will
 

KeanosMagicHat

macrumors 68000
May 18, 2012
1,546
544
Amazon: a day late, and a dollar short. It's kind of sad watching bookstores like Barnes & Noble and Amazon try to become tech companies, and inevitably fail.

Amazon is one of the biggest tech companies in the world.

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.
 

KeanosMagicHat

macrumors 68000
May 18, 2012
1,546
544
I guess they had the courage to charge 3.99 :eek:

:p

Seriously, that's a great price, and even for prime members that's a nice price.

I know Apple doesn't compete on price, but if they want to continue to be players in this market they will

As I understand, it isn't $3.99 for Prime Members, that's for Echo owners. It's $7.99 per month on top of the Prime Membership.
 

tibi08

macrumors 6502a
Sep 17, 2007
703
75
Brighton, UK
Trying to break this down.

UK Prime membership costs £79. Supposedly £40 of that is video and £39 is the delivery benefits (based on the change in pricing when they added video). So I suppose they would say Music was never really included in this price to begin with. I suppose I can see that including a full Music service equivalent to Apple Music was never going to be realistic within the existing Prime subscription fee. But £79 + £85 for music (assumed) = £164/year is a lot to be paying to Amazon.
 

KeanosMagicHat

macrumors 68000
May 18, 2012
1,546
544
Race to the bottom. Why pay the artists at all?

Unfortunately it's the way of the world now, everyone wants something for next to nothing.

As it stands, the future of music for artists appears to be in advances from Publishers for new tracks / albums and money earned from touring / merchandising / advertising sponsors.
 
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SBlue1

macrumors 68000
Oct 17, 2008
1,803
2,180
Bit of a slap in the face for all Prime subscribers expecting them to pay more. It's now created a two tier Music offering. (Three tier if you factor in the lower priced Echo customer subscriptions).

Especially UK Prime members who already do not receive all of the additional Kindle benefits etc the US customers receive.

Don't know about the UK but in Germany Amazon Prime Video is almost given away for free. Every other movie service costs way more and offers far less. 4 Euros per month compared to the 10 to 20 Euros a month for the other services. And you get Amazon shipping for free! And the cloud drive for free. And the basic music library for free.

Including this new premium music library for free as well would be like stealing. The artist have to get paid too.
 

iSRS

macrumors 6502
Mar 2, 2010
452
239
I know, but 3.99 is still cheap, I read the article that stated 7.99 for prime :)

As @dschulian states, the $3.99/month is echo owners for playback on the echo only...

$3.99 and you can only listen to mono music in a crappy quality. IMHO far too expensive!

As an echo owner, it isn't crappy sounding. It is perfect for situations that you are moving around, where a true stereo sound is not an issue. True stereo sound really only matters if you are in a fixed location, etc.

My echo is in my kitchen, near the table. I use it when cooking: "Alexa, set a timer for 30 minutes" and have used it with iheartradio, Spotify (during a free trial) and as a bluetooth speaker for Apple Music.

The included prime music was a joke, they recently changed the available Amazon Drive storage to no longer have your uploaded music not count. This is a decent alternative. I will likely give the echo only option a try during the trial, but I don't see me going all in on it.

What I would like to see is Apple offer a discount on a year of the Family Plan as Amazon is doing.
 
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