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Amazon Prime Music bolsters catalog with new Universal Music deal

Amazon Prime has solidified a deal with Universal Music that gives subscribers new streaming access to many big name artists, including Drake, Katy Perry, Maroon 5, and Lorde, starting immediately.

The service launched last year with two of the three major music conglomerates on board in Sony and Warner, but lacked tracks owned by the third leg of the music tripod until this morning. Universal Music Group is the largest music conglomerate in the world, and beyond its massive catalog the studio also wields a significant amount of power with streaming services.

Related: Spotify vs. Apple Music, who wins the ultimate streaming showdown?

This deal doesn’t make Amazon Prime an Apple Music or Spotify killer by any means, and comes with some pretty big caveats.

For starters, Amazon does not get the entire Universal Music catalog, only select albums. Plus, fans of a specific Universal artist will have no guarantee how or why albums are selected, as neither party has given a clear-cut explanation of who makes those calls.

It wouldn’t be surprising if executives at Universal continued looking to bigger players like Spotify and Apple Music as higher-tiered streaming partners, releasing music to Amazon as something of an afterthought.

Also, whatever Universal and Amazon select for the Prime service, it won’t be brand new. Due to Amazon’s catalog deal, the service will only get albums six months after their initial release.

The addition of Universal Music is more of a value play than anything, tied into Amazon’s increasingly valuable Prime service. Amazon seems to be on a never-ending quest to add to the already-expansive list of perks consumers get through Amazon Prime, and the free music streaming service is just one of the many bonuses the company offers its legion of Prime subscribers.

That said, having solidified the last of the major music groups as a partner, current subscribers should notice a drastic increase in the amount of music they have available to them for free via Amazon Prime, even if that music isn’t the newest. And hey, for those already hooked on Prime’s shipping benefits and video streaming service, you can’t argue with more free music.