Amazon Music Unlimited Is Reportedly Set To Raise Prices For Non-Prime Subscribers in Japan — Will a Stateside Hike Follow?

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Minato, Tokyo, Japan. Photo Credit: Louie Martinez

After Apple Music’s price increased in late 2022 – and as Spotify reportedly prepares to up the cost of its individual plan – Amazon Music Unlimited’s monthly charge for non-Prime subscribers is reportedly set to jump in Japan next month.

Regional outlets including Tokyo’s AV Watch just recently reported on the quick-approaching Amazon Music Unlimited price hike, which will reportedly go into effect on February 21st. At the time of this writing, the Amazon-owned music streaming service – which could face layoffs due to sizable cutbacks across the overarching company – didn’t appear to have formally confirmed (or responded to) the forthcoming cost increase.

But according to AV Watch, non-Prime Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers in the world’s second-largest music market will have to shell out ¥1,680 (currently $13.03, and an increase from the previous price of ¥1,480) per month or ¥16,800/$130.42 (up from ¥14,800/$114.88) annually for the family plan.

(For reference, Amazon posted $8.90 billion in subscription service revenue, referring to that which derived from “digital product subscriptions that provide unlimited viewing or usage rights,” during Q3 2022. Additionally, Prime itself costs just ¥500/$3.88 per month or ¥4,900/$38.03 annually in Japan, and Prime subscribers can access the entire Amazon Music catalog in shuffle mode.)

Meanwhile, aside from a reported price raise for Amazon Music Unlimited’s ¥480-per-month student plan, monthly subscriptions will reportedly set individual users back ¥1,080 ($8.38) from late February onward – up from ¥980 ($7.61) at present, with the ¥880-per-month ($6.83) charge remaining in place for Prime customers, as mentioned.

Stateside, Amazon Music Unlimited rolled out higher prices (albeit for Prime subscribers) last May. Despite the initially highlighted increases (on top of raises from Deezer), an Amazon Music exec appeared to signal in November that his company didn’t have immediate plans to charge non-Prime customers more than $9.99 per month for Unlimited.

Needless to say, this commitment to maintaining Unlimited’s existing cost (including an $8.99-per-month price point for Prime customers) could well change in the future. Worth bearing in mind, however, is that Prime reportedly experienced a subscribership plateau in the U.S. last year after becoming more expensive – bringing about interesting questions regarding the possible impact of streaming services’ own price boosts on sign-ups and user retention.

Moreover, streaming platforms’ largely overlapping song libraries may also affect listener and revenue trends throughout 2023. Notwithstanding some exclusive music, podcasts, and features, besides library-size differences, leading services offer access to the same core products as opposed to a trove of media that cannot be found elsewhere.

And particularly given the badly sagging economy, that YouTube Music Premium, Tidal, Amazon Music Unlimited, and even the revamped Napster remain available for $9.99 per month could prove significant moving forward.