Amazon Claims “Tens of Millions” of Streaming Music Subscribers

Posted on April 3, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Music + Videos with 16 Comments


Amazon Claims "Tens of Millions" of Streaming Music Subscribers

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.”

You can learn more about Amazon Music Unlimited from the Amazon website.


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Comments (16)

16 responses to “Amazon Claims “Tens of Millions” of Streaming Music Subscribers”

  1. rvanallen

    Tried the service as a Prime Member but didn't like the "flow" of the application. Seems to go all over the place after selecting a genre -- not consistent. Spotify still wins hands down.

  2. skborders

    I don't pay for AMU but am a prime member. I listen to the amazon prime music and it is enough for me. I would be a prime member without the video and music services so they are just a bonus.

  3. chrishilton1

    Moved from Zune music pass to amazon , works great.

  4. jeffrye

    I've enjoyed Amazon Music because it's let me listen to music I already own (I paid to get to upload all my songs to my Amazon library). Of course I didn't need AMU and a much higher subscription cost to do that. Maybe that's why they're getting rid of it...

  5. rmlounsbury

    I've tried Amazon Prime music but ultimately find their catalog rather lacking. I've mostly been using Apple Music since it launched and will continue to do so.

  6. Ed

    I've been enjoying Google play music quite a bit. I use Spotify occassionally because others in my family do but I keep finding myself navigating back to Google. The catalog is good and I like the ability to upload my own music at no extra charge as well. Also, the family plan covers 6 people which is nice.

    Ultimately, I think it is a good thing that there is more than one decent choice out there, not everyone will like Google but they may like Apple for example.

  7. Patrick3D

    Amazon has a $3.99 "Echo Plan" that lets you sign up for the Unlimited service on a single Echo device. "Alexa, Try Amazon Music Unlimited." If I remember correctly, the first time you ask Alexa to play something that is only available through Unlimited, she asks if you want to start the free trial.

    • furdturgeson

      In reply to Patrick3D:

      I'm VERY curious as to how many people know they "quietly" started getting charge the $3.99 a month for the echo plan. I only stumbled on that when I was looking through some settings.

  8. Skolvikings

    I've been a Spotify customer since the service became available in the USA. That said, as the owner of two Echo devices, I can see where people would sign up for Amazon Music Unlimited if they didn't already have a different music subscription as it's painless and easy to do so. You just ask Alexa to play a song that requires Music Unlimited, and she offers to sign you up and you basically just have to say "yes."

    As it is, I set Spotify as my default music service. So when I say "Alexa, play Georgia Florida Line" she'll respond with "Playing songs by Georgia Florida Line from Spotify" and then the music starts.

  9. edboyhan

    I use both Amazon Prime Music, and Amazon Music Unlimited. Your characterization of Amazon Prime Music as a streaming radio station is incorrect. The main difference between Amazon Music Unlimited, and Amazon Prime Music is in the size of their music libraries. Prime Music has a more limited library (about 2 million items last I checked) whereas the Music Unlimited library is much larger. The Prime Music library has a lot of older stuff, and since I, myself, am of a certain age, I find Prime Music mostly satisfactory for me (50's oldies, 80's pop and disco :grin).

    I do agree that the services can be confusing. They both offer curated playlists, and stations, but the UI (and search capabilities) are different. I find searching on Music Unlimited more problematic than on Prime Music -- I suspect that is because of restrictions laid down by the music publishers.

    In the Amazon space there are actually 3 music sources: your library (stuff you've bought, ripped, or downloaded from wherever), the Prime Music library, and the Music Unlimited library. I have Echo's up the wazoo, and I can play from all 3 sources on any single or grouping of Alexa devices. Still, I don't think I have a good canonical understanding of what I can do with each of the three sources.

  10. Caden Jacob

    This is good achievement by the Amazon and if Amazon claims then they should be on right node. Now explanation by the Amazon given and some proof as well. Infect, an expert legal team behind this claim. However, I have read about it at essay edge very weeks ago and now finally an official statements has released.