Reports that Amazon is working on a streaming music service have been around since January, and it now appears that they were accurate. The retail giant has just announced Amazon Music Unlimited, an on-demand rival to the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Google Play, and Deezer.
One thing that sets Amazon Music Unlimited apart from its competitors is the price. While it does use the $9.99 per month model favored by most streaming services, there are discounts available. If you're a Prime member, it drops to $7.99 per month, or $79.99 per year, which works out at $6.67 per month.
Amazon Prime members have been able to access streaming service Prime Music at no extra cost since 2014, but it offers a limited selection of songs and doesn't have the most user-friendly interface. Amazon Music Unlimited comes with "tens of millions of songs," along with thousands of personalized stations and playlists.
There's even a payment tier available especially for owners of Amazon's Echo speakers, including the Echo Dot and Amazon Tap. It costs just $3.99 per month - making it the cheapest ad-free streaming service available. The caveat is that you'll only be able to listen to Music Unlimited on the Echo, and it's available on just one device at a time.
One advantage of subscribing to the Echo service is that it integrates with Amazon's virtual assistant, Alexa. The AI can handle complex queries, such as asking it to play the latest song by a particular artist, and it learns your musical tastes over time. Alexa can even find tracks based on a few lyrics - very helpful when you have a song stuck in your head but don't know what it's called.
Amazon will have its work cut out when it comes to competing against the likes of Spotify, which has 40 million paid-for customers, but its cut-price payment models give it an advantage - especially with an estimated 70 million+ Prime subscribers worldwide.