Amazon’s Streaming Service Launches in the United States…

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We recently covered the expected launch of Amazon Prime’s music streaming service. The expected time of launch was June or July.

Expectation has become reality. Amazon Prime Music is now available in the U.S.

Prime members get immediate full-access to the service at no extra cost. Prime costs $99 a year and includes two day shipping, streaming movies and TV shows, and kindle e-book lending.

Prime music has over one million songs and tens of thousands of albums. This isn’t a whole lot compared to larger streaming services and their 20 million songs. However, it’s a huge value-add for Prime members, and may convince people who were considering Prime to join. There’s enough popular music to keep casual listeners happy.

Curated playlists are a hot commodity at the moment, with Beats’ acquisition and Google’s interest in Songza. Amazon has followed their lead with programmed Prime Playlists. There are currently 489 curated playlists, categorized by mood and genre.

Users can also create their own playlists. Songs can be queued to mobile devices for offline listening.


Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more. Follow her on Twitter: @nine_u

18 Responses

  1. TuneHunter

    Another blinded by science Big Boy entering the dead end tunnel of all inclusive, discovery loaded streaming!
    We need more creativity Mr. Bezos. PLEASE!

  2. john

    what a terrible service that is even more abusive of artists than the status quo…

  3. Anon

    It’s non-intuitive and slow, but the lack of commercials is great!

    • jw

      No it’s not, and it’s not intended to be.

      If you listen to Amazon talk about the service, it’s all about reenforcing the value of a Prime subscription, to which artists are not the primary beneficiary (if they can really be said to be a significant beneficiary at all). Their play is, “If you sign up for Prime, not only will your flower pots ship for free, you can also listen to that Celine Dion record you love for free.” With 1m songs, they’re just casting a bunch of lines out into the water, hoping to hook customers. It’s not intended to, and will likely never function like a full service streaming service that would compete with a company like Spotify.

      The service is integrated into the shopping experience because Amazon Prime customers want the endorphins produced by the “buy” experience, so the “Add To Prime” button feels like you’re buying something, but getting it for free. It functions, in that way, a little more like iTunes Match than Spotify. It’s for that consumer who is still transitioning out of the ownership experience. It’s also an upsell play. I’m listening to Lydia Loveless’ Boy Crazy EP, & the sidebar recommendations aren’t Echonest-powered, they’re for 3 other Lydia Loveless releases that I’d have to pay to add to my library.

      Ultimately, Amazon has every incentive to keep the ownership model alive, & anyone who’s ever dealt drugs knows you always lead with a free sample. I wouldn’t expect Amazon Music’s library to ever grow to 20m… full service streaming just doesn’t gel with their “Prime Directive,” so to speak, which is to entice consumers to buy, buy, buy via small, free gifts.

      People comparing this service to Spotify/Beats/Rdio/et al are missing the point, & don’t understand Amazon as a company.

      • Nina Ulloa

        Doesn’t mean it’s not a game changer in terms of all inclusive media subscriptions

        • jw

          Prime isn’t a media subscription service. It’s a free shipping service. Calling it a media subscription service is like calling Delta a rewards points service.

          It’s also not all-inclusive.

          • Nina Ulloa

            i think streaming video, music, and books definitely count as media

          • jw

            If you pay $79 to stay at a Days Inn overnight & they give you free coffee in the morning, would you call Days Inn a coffee service? I mean technically you paid them money & you got coffee in return.

          • Esolsek

            Imagine being stuck as a mid-range artist who has still signed their material away, or renewed only 5-6 years ago. For young artists, sign nothing, get on no label. Absolutely no point in doing so, unless it’s a per release deal, and you get your copyright back, but even those contracts are being violated. There’s no value in taking the risk.

            Same is true for photography, writing, film, anything. It’s not that a startup company can’t help you, it’s that that company will be bought out, and your contract with them will become your contract with the parent company, and then you’re at their mercy.

          • Me

            There are still benefits to signing deals. Major labels still provide some of the best resources for promotion/marketing/exposure/distribution – although it’s not a guarantee that you’ll get their full support. However, if you are crafty enough to figure how to do this all yourself, then no, you don’t need a deal. Just be prepared to work extra extra hard.

      • Anonymous

        Dude, they have a ton of good tracks so far. And it’s commercial free and included with Prime. It might not be a complete replacement for Spotify but wow. I didn’t buy Prime for this. My music collection just increased by 10,000+ CDs without having to lift a finger.

        Amazon Prime subscription is quickly becoming like having a pass to the best libraries in the world from the comfort of your home. That’s a game changer.

  4. Esolsek

    I consider Jeff Bozos to be a monopolist enemy of all humanity. The fact that a generation of idiots is willing to sit on the lap of an older disgusting boomer billionaire who cares zero about the fortunes of creators young and old prove that generation hipster is in reality of herd of sheep. He’s not much a of a philanthropist either. He’s scum, and his company should be imploded by anti-trust actions in Congress.

    • Anonymous

      Boring. Try harder.

      I’ll give you some free help. Here is your first sentence improved: I consider Jeff Bozos to be a dread pirate brought forth from the depths of hell, created from an unholy amalgamation of jizz rags from Adolf Hitler, Stalin, and Celine Dion.


      For Sure! Like I was recently telling someone Capitalism was purposely De-regulated to Create Corporatism (Monopolies), Corporatism is the engine driving Humanity towards Socialism, Communism, and Enslavement!
      The more corporate monopolies there are, the less money in the hands of the masses therefore more poverty and higher middle class taxes! We all talk about equality in this country, but the most important equality we should be concerned about is financial equality!

      • Me

        I don’t think that’s what communism/socialism is…

  5. Elizabeth from

    Why is Amazon doing this to the music industry? I think they are trying to entice young (college) kids into buying Prime. Those in marketing know the value of a young person converting over to your service/brand is higher than convincing someone older to convert to your brand because amount spent over the lifetime is greater. So, Amazon wants to get college kids to buy into Amazon Prime. They always have special deals for students through their Amazon student program. I think in the past, it was 1 year free if you have a college email address. I just checked their Amazon student page and now it is 6 months free and 50% off after that. So prime is $99 per year now. Students pay $50 per year after 6 months but dangle the free music streaming in front of them and voila, you have basically free Amazon Prime if you are someone who spends more than $50 a year on music.

    This might not be as bad for the music industry as it seems. I don’t think they are going to become the next Google Play or Spotify. Here’s why. Personally, I found Amazon Prime streaming content to be disappointing. There was nothing too to watch and just a few blockbusters so they can make their front page look good. Free streaming of music and TV is just a gimmick to get their Prime membership up. If music content turns out to be the same, I think these college kids might just spend additional money after they’ve bought into Prime to get the music they want. After all, these are kids who shell out $50 for 2 day delivery service so they can buy even more stuff on Amazon.
    -Elizabeth from