An Amazon executive said this week that the firm’s Amazon Music Unlimited service now has “tens of millions” of subscribers and has doubled in size in just six months. And while the firm provided no specifics, it also claimed that the service is now the third-largest streaming music service behind Spotify and Apple Music.
News of Amazon Unlimited Music’s ascendancy comes courtesy of an interview with Amazon’s Steve Boom in Billboard Magazine. He claims that the service, which is not actually tied directly to the company’s popular Prime subscription, has been nonetheless helped by that service. And by the popularity of its Echo smart speakers.
(Amazon Music Unlimited normally costs $9.99 per month, but Prime subscribers pay $7.99. And Amazon does offer a different music service for Prime subscribers called Amazon Prime Music, which is more of a streaming radio service. I wrote about Amazon’s confusing and growing stable of Prime services in Amazon’s Prime Advantage (Premium) in late 2017.)
“There’s been a lot written about streaming and about smart speakers, but [articles] still talk about it as if this is some future state,” Mr. Boom told the publication. “We know better than that. It’s actually happening right now. We wouldn’t have grown to this scale if it hadn’t been happening already.”
According to Boom, Amazon’s success with smart speakers has opened up new opportunities in streaming music, an “untapped demographic” of customers who might otherwise not subscribe to such a service. This includes older listeners who find the Echo speakers very easy to use and country music listeners, who (according to him) tend to adopt technology more slowly than those with more sophisticated tastes. Kidding.
“Our goal has been to expand the premium streaming market segment, not to run in a horse race with the other players each going after the same demographic,” he said. “The technology itself is so simple that we don’t just rely on those people who I would say are early tech adopters, which has been where a lot of growth in music streaming has been because it’s been wrapped up inside of a smartphone. Not everybody wants to listen to music on a smartphone, it turns out.”