Amazon Prime Music: A Streaming Service Your Mom Can Use

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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.

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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.

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When signed in to Amazon Prime, you’ll be able to see which music you can stream for free when browsing the Amazon website.

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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.

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The homepage has a random assortment of albums that aren’t based on listening preferences.

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The “songs” and “playlists” tabs also have a random assortment of each. “Playlists” are curated playlists made by Amazon Music staff.

Photo Jun 13, 11 21 12 AM
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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.

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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


18 Responses

  1. Casey

    I see Amazon Prime Music as being somewhat half-assed, intentionally. Amazon sells a lot of music downloads but they know streaming is the future and they need to be in it, now, if they want to stay relevant. But while sales are still high, they do not want to offer an essentially free streaming service that would cannibalize their sales. Hence the small library and time requirements.

    The service they are offering now is not going to cost them much in licensing and will add value to Amazon Prime at a time when those $80 per year subscriptions are coming up for renewal. It will help Amazon retain customers who are on the fence about the price increase. Especially for those who buy lots of music from Amazon or use their online cloud music service. Overall, a win for Amazon and consumers. Artists, maybe not so much.

    • jw

      Back in march they bumped the annual price up to $99.

      Streaming is the future for Amazon, but only a hybrid model. They want you to pay $1ea for the songs in your streaming library, & giving out 1m songs that customers weren’t otherwise likely to buy is a great way to hook customers into the Amazon Music ecosystem. (Having these sprinkled throughout the site is going to be a very effective marketing tool.) I have a feeling, just based on the terrible design, that there was very little adoption to their cloud player. More than anything, this is just an attempt to spur adoption. Even now, I can’t find my way back to it except through adding a song to my library. I always have to google “amazon cloud player” or “amazon prime videos” because finding them through the website is impossible. And that will always be a problem that Amazon battles when launching new services.

      Ultimately, I think that it will be good for artists, because it will engage low-volume music consumers. The more a consumer uses the Amazon cloud music player, the more likely they are to buy songs. And, make no mistake, Amazon is not going to disengage from the transaction-per-song model. There will never be an all-in streaming service from Amazon.

  2. Anonymous

    “all of them have been out for at least six months”

    Why would we want another museum? We already have Spotify.

      • PiratesWinLOL

        Hey! Spotify is missing a few tracks from Beyonces record from last year. That is totally making them a museum, okay?

  3. Elizabeth from

    Their movie streaming service content is disappointing too. I agree with “half-assed, intentionally.” It’s just a gimmick to attract Amazon Prime customers.

    • smg77

      I don’t know if steaming is the devil but streaming is the future.

  4. Anonymous

    Burn the Internet to the ground
    So musicians can be free
    We will get a lot of money
    And have a big party

  5. Dylan Paul Mathis

    Streaming is not the way of the future. It has proven to be a fiat dependent, non-sustainable business model of tertiary industries. Looking at the PE ratios of many streaming service provider, one can clearly see, that they are constantly deep in the red. I don’t think Pandora has ever turned a profit over. The industry of technology itself is uncertain because its growth is solely dependent on innovation. Therefore, stratification is blurry amongst users, consumers, fans and artists. Name and brand identification is mashed up and lost in a virtual data driven oblivion. Both tech and music industries are currently inadequate, unbalanced business models, in regards to proprietary music content. However, there is a light a at the end of this dark tunnel. It is a method in which everybody can win. We have to think in terms 21st century growth, not 20th century preservation. I’m an analogue warrior, but analogue is niche oriented and upcoming generations are out of touch with hardware or hard copies. They also believe that freemium is a social l norm in regards to music. The music industry is obviously the first that needs attention, The hemorrhaging has to be stopped or the talent will go away and die. @TuneHunter I would like to discuss ideals and solutions with you and anybody else willing to collaborate to find a way out of the Pandora hell and to bring a balanced model back to the business music entertainment.

  6. Karen

    I know people will think I’m being pedantic, but I find your title condescending to women. Just because I’m a woman and a mother I’m not supposed to know how to use technology? I can code circles around you, so please, ditch the sexist stereotypes.

    • Geewhizpat

      Thank you…I am a woman, mother and performing Musican synth geek…stop with the stereotyping BS…adds to those that believe in the so called generational warfare….not

      • Emanon

        I also got distracted by the lame headline. It’s my dad that can’t text.

    • Michaela

      Yes, you are being pedantic. As a mom, I find the title serves its purpose.

  7. Tunipop

    Is Amazon going to take the next step and connect the music with other artist related products like merchandise aka Artistlink? It would be a very easy task, afterall Amazon built an empire on recommendation, but they have a real problem, a significant portion of the artist t-shirts on Amazon are fakes: