Billboard reports that Amazon plans to launch a free, ad-supported music streaming service similar to Spotify’s base offering.
“The world’s biggest e-retailer [hey, that’s my word] would market the free music service through its voice-activated Echo speakers, sources say, and would offer a limited catalog,” the publication reports. “It could become available as early as next week. To obtain licenses for the free music, Amazon has offered to initially pay some record labels per stream, regardless of how much advertising Amazon sells.”
Confused? You should be. Amazon already offers two different music services, and this third entry will confuse matters even further.
Today, Amazon offers something called Amazon Music, which is a perk of the Amazon Prime service and it, like the rumored new service, offers “a limited catalog” of songs. Amazon also sells a subscription music service with a more complete library that costs $10 per month, though Prime members pay just $8, and there’s a $4/month option for those who only listen on a single Echo smart speaker.
What’s missing from Amazon’s plans today is a way to mix and match your own music with music from the firm’s cloud library. That offering was killed off exactly a year ago and this new ad-supported service will obviously do nothing to change that.
Basically, it appears that the new ad-supported service will basically be Amazon Music, but for non-Prime subscribers, though Billboard doesn’t present it that way. And while Amazon has already seen great success in music just by leveraging Prime, its non-Prime service, Music Unlimited, has done quite well: In April 2018, the firm claimed that “tens of millions” of people paid for Amazon Music Unlimited and that its subscriber base had doubled in size in just six months. And this year, we learned that Amazon Music is the fastest-growing music subscription service.
The goal with the ad-supported service, of course, is to compete head-to-head with Spotify, the number one music subscription service. Spotify offers a free ad-supported version of its service as well as paid tiers with no ads. Apple Music is a paid-only service and is number two in the market.