As of June 12th, Amazon Prime Music is available for Prime members in the U.S.. As previously reported, there’s no extra cost to Prime members who currently pay $99 a year for fast shipping, streaming video, and e-books.
So how does Prime Music stack up against other streaming services? It’s not easy to compare. Prime Music is meant as a value-add for Prime members. Amazon is focused on getting and keeping customers, not on building an excellent streaming service. Because of this, Prime Music only has around one million songs, and all of them have been out for at least six months. This isn’t the place to hear albums on release day.
Prime Music is available on desktop through the Amazon website, where it blends into the rest of Amazon just like Instant Video does. An automatic update is going out to Kindle Fire devices, adding Prime Music to the existing music app. The service is also available on iOS and Android devices through the Amazon Music app. Amazon Music is tied to Amazon’s MP3 store, and was really confusing to use prior to this update.
When signed in to Amazon Prime, you’ll be able to see which music you can stream for free when browsing the Amazon website.
On desktop, Amazon is taking the opportunity to try and up-sell. When a track is played, related songs are displayed on the side. Tracks that aren’t available for streaming are displayed with purchase links next to songs that are.
I tested the service on Amazon Music for iPad as well. The design of the app is fairly streamlined, and is easier to use than the desktop version.
The homepage has a random assortment of albums that aren’t based on listening preferences.
The “songs” and “playlists” tabs also have a random assortment of each. “Playlists” are curated playlists made by Amazon Music staff.
If you want recommendations, you have to open the side tab, select “Prime Playlists”, and then select “Recommended For You”.
Songs can be queued for offline listening through the Amazon Music app, although I’m not sure what the limit is on that.
Overall, Prime Music is nice to have, but I’m not sure when I’d choose to use it. If I want to use a streaming service I’m more likely to use Spotify or Beats Music. Amazon has some good curated playlists, but I can find similar music on other services. I’ll likely only use Prime Music when I’m on the Amazon website for something else.
This service is more suited for casual listeners. My parents are going to be excited when they find out this is now available on their Kindle Fires with their Prime subscription. (But to be fair, my parents aren’t very old)
Amazon Prime Music is one more adversary for anti-streaming advocates. Goes to show that streaming is here to stay… until the money runs out. With new streaming services popping up all the time we’ll have to wait and see which ones die off.
Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more. Follow her on Twitter: @nine_u