Amazon Unveils Unlimited Music Service

Posted on October 12, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Music + Videos with 18 Comments

Amazon Unveils Unlimited Music Service

Amazon today announced Unlimited Music, its new on-demand music streaming service. Key differentiators include what Amazon calls the service’s “breakthrough” pricing, and Alexa integration.

Like rival services—market leaders include Spotify and Apple Music—Amazon Unlimited Music offers unlimited access to a cloud-hosted music collection for a monthly subscription fee. It’s compatible with Android and iOS-based mobile devices, Windows PCs and Macs, the web, and other devices. (It’s available on Sonos and Fire TV as well, for example.) And Amazon claims a collection size, vaguely, of “tens of millions.” (Most rival services are now in the 30-40 million range, I believe.)

So far, this is exactly what one would expect. But Amazon offers some interesting advantages over rival services.

The first is pricing: While anyone can subscribe to Amazon Unlimited Music for $10 per month, the standard rate found everywhere, Prime subscribers will save $2 per month, or $40 per year if they pay annually. That is, Prime subscribers will pay an addition $8 per month—or $80 per year—for Amazon Unlimited Music.

But you can save even more if you have a single Amazon Echo or other Alexa-based device. That is, if you don’t mind limiting Amazon Unlimited Music access to just one Alexa device, you can use a special “for Echo” version of the service for just $4 per month. That said, if you decide you want to keep using the service and access it on multiple devices, including Fire TV, iOS, Android, web, PC, Mac, Sonos and more, you’ll need to pay another $4 per month like other Prime subscribers.

Naturally, Amazon’s Echo and other Alexa devices are—wait for it—primed to use the new service.

“If you want a sense of the future of voice-controlled music, go ahead and ask Alexa for a free Music Unlimited trial, and play around on your Echo,” Amazon’s Jeff Bezos says in a canned statement. “If you don’t know the name of a song but know a few lyrics, if you want to hear songs from a specific decade, or even if you’re looking for music to match your mood, just ask.”

Amazon’s press release says you can ask Echo such things as “Alexa, play Sia,” “Alexa, play Green Day’s new song,” “Alexa, play the song that goes, ‘I was doing just fine before I met you'” (where Alexa will play, ‘Closer” by The Chainsmokers), and so on to start music playback. You can also trigger “side-by-side” playlists (“Alexa, play Side-by-Side with OneRepublic”) to play an artist and related artists.

While breaking into the streaming music business in a serious way will still prove difficult for Amazon, I think, this is a smart offering. I may just have to check it out.

 

Tagged with , , , ,

Premium Comments (9) Comments (9)
Elevate the Conversation!

Join Thurrott Premium to enjoy our Premium comments.

Premium member comments on news posts will feature an elevated status that increases their visibility. This tab would allow you to participate in Premium comments with other premium members. Register to join the other Premium members in elevating the conversation!

Register or Subscribe
9 Comments
Sort by Votes | Date
  1. 0 | Reply
    slbailey1 Alpha Member #1080 - 1 month ago

    Do the all devices plan include the Echo?

  2. 0 | Reply
    edboyhan Alpha Member #492 - 1 month ago

    I just used my echo to order the $3.99 version (30 day free trial to start).  I'm listening to it (50's oldies) as I write this -- very nice.  I had been using Prime Music since I got my first echo almost two years ago, and it's been fine for my limited music preferences (disco, 50's & 80's oldies).  I now have 3 Alexa devices (an Echo, a Tap, and a Dot) -- I think my subscriptions works from all of them for the one fee.  If I wanted to use non-alexa devices (I don't -- the Dot can connect to any speaker system out there including Sonos), and as a Prime member it would cost me $8/month -- I'll pass on that.

    As I listen to the 50's selections, I can ask Alexa to skip what I don't like, or add a song to my personal library from which I can listen in any order I please.

  3. 0 | Reply
    wolters Alpha Member #390 - 1 month ago

    This is the moment I've been waiting for...the time to really look at my music services. 

    I'm a long time Groove user, since the Zune Days. I love the desktop player and the fact I can use it on the XBOX One in the background while shuffling pictures with Plex.

    I am a Google Music User on the Family Plan with Red. Fantastic deal if only for commercial free YouTube but the music service is great and fast. 

    Amazon Music Unlimited is attractive because I am in the Amazon ecosystem with Prime and three Echo's. Plus it has apps (and nicely updated too) for Android iOS and Windows Desktop. 

    Very hard decision as really, I don't need 3 services but they all have their plus and minuses. I think Groove may be on the chopping block.

  4. 0 | Reply
    mmcpher Alpha Member #245 - 1 month ago

    $14.99 Family Plan "coming soon".  I wonder how it integrates the Amazon Music Cloud which allows you to upload all your digital music from whatever source?  I don't much like "streaming only" and this appears to allow Spotify like download for offline listening.  Window Mobile doesn't get an app.   And the Amazoon web player doesn't work on current W10M Edge.

    1. 0 | Reply
      Michael Alpha Member #361 - 1 month ago
      In reply to mmcpher:

      Did they mention if that family pricing is for everyone or just Prime members?

  5. 0 | Reply
    khanman Alpha Member #644 - 1 month ago

    No mention of a family plan?

  6. 0 | Reply
    maethorechannen Alpha Member #377 - 1 month ago

    So, does Prime Misic still exist and if so, what's the difference?

    1. 1 | Reply
      RobotRaccoon Alpha Member #2267 - 1 month ago
      In reply to maethorechannen:

      Prime Music is still there. It looks like the main diffence is the song count. Prime Music historically claimed around 2 million songs. Unlimited claims tens of millions. Started my Unlimited trial, and big difference I see so far are more currated playlists from which to choose. Also of note, both services use the same Amazon Music mobile app (at least they do on iOS). The content in the Amazon Music app refreshed to reflect the Unlimited service.

  7. 0 | Reply
    slbailey1 Alpha Member #1080 - 1 month ago

    I think I will try this for 2 reasons:

    1. I am an Amazon Prime member.

    2. I used to pay for Live365. I can take that money and pay for Amazon Music unlimited since Live365 has went under.

    Also, I am using Amazon as my entertenment ecosystem (Movies, books, and music).