In a nutshell: Amazon Prime members now have access to the company's full catalog of 100 million songs as a subscription perk at no additional cost. Before rushing off to cancel your existing streaming membership, there is one big catch you'll want to be aware of.
The full catalog is being made available ad-free but only for shuffle play. That means you can add any song or album from the catalog to a custom playlist (or listen to a curated playlist) but you can't choose the order in which tracks play.
Up to this point, Prime members have only had access to around two million tracks as part of their subscription.
For small playlists, Amazon will mix in additional tracks it thinks you might enjoy at its discretion. It sounds a lot like what Pandora's Internet radio service was in its early days.
Some All-Access playlists can be played on demand, we're told, as can a selection of podcasts. Those interested in full on-demand listening will need to upgrade to Amazon Music Unlimited, which is priced at $8.99 per month after a free 30-day trial. Unlimited additionally grants access to higher-quality audio files when available; Amazon says 90 million tracks are available in HD (CD quality "lossless") and over seven million are offered in Ultra HD (up to 24 bit, 192 kHz). Standard tracks are streamed at up to 320 kbps.
At $8.99 per month, Amazon's service is still cheaper than most of the competition. Tidal and Spotify currently charge $9.99 for an individual membership, but the latter recently said a price increase was coming in 2023. Apple last month increased the cost of an Apple Music individual subscription to $10.99 per month.
An Amazon Prime membership sells for $14.99 per month or $139 per year (qualifying students can get it for $7.49 per month or $69 a year) following a price increase in February.
Is Amazon's new Prime perk enough to satisfy your listening needs or do you require on demand control?
Image credit: Sebastian Ervi