Amazon's new streaming music platform is here — and it's shockingly great. Boasting a database of “tens of millions” of songs, Amazon Music Unlimited is on its face as robust as Spotify and Apple Music, and easier to use for those 3 million Echo owners. Here's why else it matters.
It has a big music selection.
You’ll recall that this isn’t Amazon’s first time playing the music platform game. Started two years ago, Amazon Prime Music was a much more casual streaming tool, hosting just 2 million tracks. Amazon Music Unlimited’s gigantic selection is the result of deals with all three major labels and hundreds of indies. If you can find it on Spotify, you can find it here.
The sleeping giant in the mix here is Amazon’s line of Echo devices, an internet-connected speaker and microphone in various form factors. Alexa, the voice-activated software assistant that lives inside of Echo and plays Amazon’s corollary to Apple’s Siri, is intelligent enough to understand commands like “Alexa, play track two on the new Mountain Goats album” or “Play U2 songs from the eighties.” From a business perspective, Amazon has an army of speakers out there — why shouldn’t Amazon also be pumping music to them for a fee?
Yes, Amazon wants you to listen from an Echo device as much as possible, but it isn’t about to let that stop them from making this new music service available on pretty much every platform that can run software: iOS, Android, web, OS X, Windows, Sonos, and of course Amazon’s proprietary Fire TV and Alexa platforms.
Spotify and Apple Music are both $10 a month. Assuming you already have an Echo device (which can be acquired new for as little as $50), your subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited will run you just $4. The caveat here is that your subscription only works from that device and nowhere else. But you’ll probably be listening to plenty of music through your Echo. After all, Amazon’s music service was designed to be used in conjunction with Alexa. Amazon Prime members lacking an Echo device pay $8 a month to listen to their music from any device. To everyone else, it’s the familiar $10 monthly rate.
It gets you more deeply hooked on Amazon.
Amazon is already the place where you can get everything from your toilet paper to birthday gifts to groceries to pet food. And now you can get your music there, too.