It’s not at all certain that the already-crowded music streaming service market needed another player, but hey, we’ve got one anyway: today Amazon announced the launch of Amazon Music Unlimited, its competitor to Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, etc. Amazon are clearly tying the service to their Echo device, the utility of which, if we’re honest, is also questionable — BUT, if you happen to own one, then you can get Amazon Music Unlimited for the princely sum of $3.99 a month, which is certainly cheaper than any of its competitors. You also get to control your music with your voice, which is fun if you don’t mind speaking to a small cylindrical speaker.
If you don’t have an Echo, there’s also a discount if you pay for Amazon Prime, in which case you can get the service for $7.99 a month; otherwise, it’s the standard $9.99 fee that also gets you Spotify, Apple Music’s basic service, Tidal’s non-“premium fidelity” service, etc. If you already use Amazon Prime’s streaming service, you’ll no doubt be glad to know that with this announcement, its catalog has grown substantially; Amazon’s press release doesn’t specify exactly how many songs its licenses now encompass, referring only to “tens of millions of songs.” Assuming that doesn’t just mean, y’know, ten million, it means that Amazon is competing with the big players: Apple Music has some 37 million songs, Google Play has 35 million, Spotify and Tidal both have 40 million.
The success of this service looks like it’s ultimately gonna be contingent on the success of the Echo, because the integration of that device’s voice control service with a large catalog of music is Amazon Music Unlimited’s main selling point. We’d expect that most other prospective customers for this service will have a streaming subscription already, and while the Prime discount is enticing, it’s unlikely that saving $2 a month is going to have customers switching in droves to Amazon’s offering.