Music streaming is not uncharted territory for Amazon, as the ever-expanding tech company has offered its Prime members the ability to stream their favorite tunes for years. But the company announced Wednesday (Oct. 12) the launch of Amazon Music Unlimited, complete with a larger library of songs, Alexa voice controls and redesigned Amazon Music app.
For the most part, Amazon Music Unlimited is similar to the current offerings from Spotify and Apple Music, as users have access to curated playlists and personalized stations. However, the biggest difference is that Amazon rewards existing Prime members with full access to the improved service for $7.99/month or $79/year (as opposed to $9.99/month for non-Prime users, which is essentially the industry standard price point). Amazon reduces the price even more for those who own an Echo, a smart speaker that comes with a special subscription offer of $3.99/month.
With the different tiers, it’s clear that Amazon wants to entice consumers to invest in an Echo, which when combined with Alexa voice controls turns the device into “the ultimate personalized jukebox.”
“And 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 CEO Jeff Bezos said in a 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 is also introducing behind-the-scenes artist commentary called “Side-by-Sides.” For example, users can ask Alexa to play “Side-by-Side” with OneRepublic and lead vocalist Ryan Tedder will give insight on songs from the band’s latest album. The commentary is available for artists such as the aforementioned OneRepublic, The Chainsmokers, Norah Jones and Jason Aldean with plans to add more over time.
The company also announced that it has redesigned the Amazon Music app with an interface that focuses on artist images and album art. The app also features “Home,” “Recommended,” and “Now Playing” sections that ensure users remain up-to-date on new releases, receive personalized music suggestions and enjoy synchronized song lyrics. The app is available across multiple platforms, including Amazon Fire devices, iOS, Android, PC and Mac.
Amazon Music Unlimited will also be available in the U.K., Germany and Austria later this year.