Amazon has offered a pared-down music streaming service for Prime members for some time now, but earlier this year, reports surface that it was preparing a new music streaming service to directly compete with products from Apple, Spotify, and Google. Today that new service — dubbed Amazon Music Unlimited — launched, and it will only cost $8 per month. As long as you’re a Prime member, that is. For nonmembers, the price is the streaming service standard of $10 per month.
“Amazon Music Unlimited brings real value to the millions of people who are already Prime members, with a choice of subscribing for only $7.99 a month or even $79 per year. Plus, customers are going to love Amazon Music’s all-new app for iOS, Android and desktop,” Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement. “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. 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.”
It seems that the service is very much intended to help draw users to Amazon’s Echo. Not only does it offer the added functionality Bezos mentions above, but the service is even cheaper for Echo users, costing only $4 per month. The company has even made it easy for Echo users to try the new service without so much as hitting a button.
While the Prime Music service included with Amazon Prime is a fairly bare-bones affair when compared to other streaming services, Prime Music Unlimited looks much more capable of competing with heavy hitters from Spotify, Apple, and others. The service offers a catalog of tens of millions of songs, as well as hand-curated playlist and personalized radio stations, looking very similar to the offerings from other companies.
With the new Prime Music Unlimited service comes an updated Amazon Music app that the company says “emphasizes artist images and album art and puts music discovery and playback front and center.” The refreshed app comes with a new “Home” section featuring hand-picked selections by Amazon Music editors to help music lovers stay up to to date with the newest music, and a “Recommended” section that is home to the personalized playlists and stations mentioned above. The new app is available on Amazon’s Fire devices, as well as iOS, Android, PC, Mac, and the web.
One thing the service doesn’t currently feature is a family plan, but that won’t be the case for long. Amazon says a “For Family” subscription will arrive this year, allowing up to six family members to listen for $15 per month. For more information on the new service, see the Amazon Music Unlimited website.
Updated on 10-12-2016 by Kris Wouk: Revised to reflect Amazon Music Unlimited’s official launch.