Back in August, I wrote about Amazon.com Inc.’s (AMZN - Analyst Report) rumored interest in launching a music streaming service exclusively for its Echo devices, and on Wednesday, the e-commerce giant has finally debuted Amazon Music Unlimited, the latest addition to the heavily populated music streaming industry.
Like competitors Spotify and Apple’s (AAPL - Analyst Report) Apple Music, users can enjoy ad-free, on-demand music from a catalog of tens of millions of songs for $10 per month. If you’re already a Prime member, you’ll receive a discounted rate of $8 per month in addition to the membership’s annual cost of $99.
However, if you decide that you can live with only listening to Amazon Music Unlimited on the Echo speaker, you only have to shell out $4 a month, arguably the cheapest option out there for consumers. The service will be available on all Echo devices, including the original Echo, the Amazon Tap, and Echo Dot.
Along with the price, subscribers of the Echo option now have new ways to ask Alexa, Amazon’s voice-controlled personal assistant, to play songs. You can ask her to play your favorite artist’s latest single or begin a specific playlist, among other ways; users can even ask, “Alexa, play that song that goes like…,” singing whatever lyrics you can remember.
If the less-expensive Echo option proves successful, Amazon could potentially shift the way music listeners consume on-demand music. Generally, music streaming has relied heavily on mobile phone usage. Most of Spotify users sign up for the service on their phones, while Apple Music was focused almost entirely on potential subscribers who had iPhones.
To listen to Amazon Music Unlimited’s $8 and $10 listening options, you will need to download the new mobile app. Users can try out these options free with a 30-day trial.
Currently, Spotify has 40 million paying members, while Apple Music has 17 million. Amazon Music Unlimited certainly has the potential to reach these subscriber levels. And if not, Amazon can at least bet on a rise in sales of its Echo products, which already are projected to sell 3 million this year and 10 million in 2017.
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