Amazon launches Music Unlimited to challenge Spotify & Apple Music

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Breaking out of the confines of its existing Prime Music service, Amazon on Wednesday launched Music Unlimited, directly targeted at the current leaders in on-demand streaming, Spotify and Apple Music.









Unlike Prime Music -- which has just 2 million tracks -- Music Unlimited has "tens of millions" of songs, putting it on par with Amazon's rivals. Subscribers also don't need to be Prime members -- a non-Prime Unlimited plan costs an industry standard $9.99 per month.



The service becomes cheaper with a Prime membership however, priced at $7.99 per month, or $79 per year. With or without Prime, a family plan due in the near future will cost $14.99 per month, or $149 per year.



An even cheaper $3.99-per-month option is available, but extremely limited in that the plan can only be used on a single Echo, Echo Dot, or Tap speaker.



Music Unlimited also includes features like offline caching, and AI integration, such that people can make broad requests to Amazon's Alexa voice assistant. Reuters noted that people can ask Alexa to play music fitting a particular mood, or even use the phrase "play music by the King of Pop" to start tracks by Michael Jackson.



One downside to Amazon versus other services is a limited trial period. Amazon's trial period is just 30 days, versus three months for Apple Music. Spotify is free to use with ads, only asking subscribers to pay if they want Premium benefits.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    levilevi Posts: 344member
    I was shocked to read Amazon Prime had around 65 million subscribers (SeekingAlpha). Never would've guessed it was that high. 
    lostkiwi
  • Reply 2 of 19
    sflagelsflagel Posts: 580member
    Now, the next step in this democratization of entertainment, is that the industry or the regulator require Libraries to be transferable. Switching services must be, just like for bank accounts, seamless.
  • Reply 3 of 19
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,368member
    She looks like an alien. That's not a natural position for the neck. Badass Amazon!  B
    edited October 2016
  • Reply 4 of 19
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,729member
    Oh! Oh! Me too! Me too! I want to be in the music game too! 
    nolamacguymdriftmeyerpscooter63jbdragonholyonelostkiwijony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 19
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    sflagel said:
    Now, the next step in this democratization of entertainment, is that the industry or the regulator require Libraries to be transferable. Switching services must be, just like for bank accounts, seamless.
    what's there to transfer when it's a streaming catalog service? your music is yours and not part of this. 
    mike1jbdragon
  • Reply 6 of 19
    I just tested the phrase, "Play music by the King of Pop" with Siri and he (British male) played the songs.

    I also tested "Queen of Soul", "The Boss", "The Fab Four", "Mimi" (Mariah Carey nickname). All artists' songs were played.
  • Reply 7 of 19
    sflagel said:
    Now, the next step in this democratization of entertainment, is that the industry or the regulator require Libraries to be transferable. Switching services must be, just like for bank accounts, seamless.
    what's there to transfer when it's a streaming catalog service? your music is yours and not part of this. 
    The playlists transferring. 
  • Reply 8 of 19
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,584member
    And so Amazon continues to drive every aspect of our lives into commodity status driving profits out of 10's of thousands of businesses and industries. This is not being done in the name of improved market efficiencies, but through predatory practices to drive marketshare and eliminate competition. 
    Roger_Fingasfotoformatlostkiwientropysjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 19
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 876member
    seankill said:
    sflagel said:
    Now, the next step in this democratization of entertainment, is that the industry or the regulator require Libraries to be transferable. Switching services must be, just like for bank accounts, seamless.
    what's there to transfer when it's a streaming catalog service? your music is yours and not part of this. 
    The playlists transferring. 
    That's what was keeping my daughter from moving from Spotify to Apple Music. Hundreds of playlists. Now it's probably more of the poor interface/experience that AM users are complaining about.
    sflagel
  • Reply 10 of 19
    sflagel said:
    Now, the next step in this democratization of entertainment, is that the industry or the regulator require Libraries to be transferable. Switching services must be, just like for bank accounts, seamless.
    what's there to transfer when it's a streaming catalog service? your music is yours and not part of this. 
    Have you use Apple Music with iCloud?
  • Reply 11 of 19

    freerange said:
    And so Amazon continues to drive every aspect of our lives into commodity status driving profits out of 10's of thousands of businesses and industries. This is not being done in the name of improved market efficiencies, but through predatory practices to drive marketshare and eliminate competition. 
    But you don't have to use their services. 
    mike1
  • Reply 12 of 19
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,805member
    sflagel said:
    Now, the next step in this democratization of entertainment, is that the industry or the regulator require Libraries to be transferable. Switching services must be, just like for bank accounts, seamless.
    Just what we need another government regulator. Besides, there is nothing to transfer. You own NOTHING with these services. You merely agree to pay a monthly fee to borrow music on demand. You stop paying, they stop loaning you music.
    edited October 2016
  • Reply 13 of 19
    Only available in limited geographies?
  • Reply 14 of 19
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    viclauyyc said:
    sflagel said:
    Now, the next step in this democratization of entertainment, is that the industry or the regulator require Libraries to be transferable. Switching services must be, just like for bank accounts, seamless.
    what's there to transfer when it's a streaming catalog service? your music is yours and not part of this. 
    Have you use Apple Music with iCloud?
    do you mean icloud music library, which is part of the iOS/Music app and not AM? i do. all of my music and playlists on my devices (macs, apple tv, phone, tablet). 

    i also use AM, which i can use to stream stuff or augment my playlists from. 
  • Reply 15 of 19
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,497member
    viclauyyc said:

    freerange said:
    And so Amazon continues to drive every aspect of our lives into commodity status driving profits out of 10's of thousands of businesses and industries. This is not being done in the name of improved market efficiencies, but through predatory practices to drive marketshare and eliminate competition. 
    But you don't have to use their services. 
    True. That said, what freerange described is the strategy, because enough people will respond to the price signal.  This is a corporate giant using its scale and resources from other markets to 1) undercut rivals to force them out of the market and ultimately, 2) prevent other competitors being able to enter the market.  Amazon's business model does not aim to make a profit in the short term, but gain the dominant market share so it can control how the market operates.  
    Or at least that is what its investors think, as reflected in its share price being three figure multiples of its earnings.
    edited October 2016 watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 19
    viclauyyc said:

    freerange said:
    And so Amazon continues to drive every aspect of our lives into commodity status driving profits out of 10's of thousands of businesses and industries. This is not being done in the name of improved market efficiencies, but through predatory practices to drive marketshare and eliminate competition. 
    But you don't have to use their services. 
    True. And I don't. And I never will. He's right though. That's what Amazon intention.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 19
    sflagelsflagel Posts: 580member
    sflagel said:
    Now, the next step in this democratization of entertainment, is that the industry or the regulator require Libraries to be transferable. Switching services must be, just like for bank accounts, seamless.
    what's there to transfer when it's a streaming catalog service? your music is yours and not part of this. 
    I am not sure what you mean with "the music is yours"?

    Anyway, what I meant is that I added a number of albums, songs and playlists to my Apple Music Library; some of these I have downloaded and some of them I stream when I select to play them. But they are in my Library and I consider them "my music collection", notwithstanding that I have further access to an unlimited music collection.

    What I'd like to see is that when I switch from, say, Apple Music to Spotify, this list of songs and playlists is also transferred, so that my Spotify Library looks exactly the same as my Apple Music Library right away, and I do not have to "search / add" for hours to replicate my original Library. Optimally, it would also know which songs of my Apple Music Library I had downloaded and download these same songs from Spotify. Let's face it, streaming does not work where you most listen to music: in the car on rural roads, in the tube, on airplanes, even at home when you simultaneously use AirPlay over your speakers and browse the web.

    Without this function, the switching costs, i.e., spending hours setting up the new Library, are very high, and we all know what companies do when switching costs are high: charge you more and provide you less (see banks).
  • Reply 18 of 19
    sflagelsflagel Posts: 580member
    mike1 said:
    sflagel said:
    Now, the next step in this democratization of entertainment, is that the industry or the regulator require Libraries to be transferable. Switching services must be, just like for bank accounts, seamless.
    Just what we need another government regulator. Besides, there is nothing to transfer. You own NOTHING with these services. You merely agree to pay a monthly fee to borrow music on demand. You stop paying, they stop loaning you music.
    Firsly, it does not have to be a government regulator, it can be an industry solution. Second, this is standard anti-competitive regulation. third, these measures generally encourage companies to channel their energy to provide a better service, rather than focusing on erecting switching barriers. Open competition is a good thing. 

    Lastly, I am not asking for the right to transfer the music files, I'd just like to be able to transfer the metadata decsribing the songs, playlists, and albums I selected so that the new service can immediately show me the same Library (and thus lend me the same music.

    It is the same with bank accounts: it used to be that switching bank accounts meant hours of work cancelling and setting up all your direct debits and standing orders; now you just appoint a new bank and your old bank is required to work with your new bank to transfer all of these. I think it would be nice if music services did the same. It would drive down prices everywhere and encourage music service providers to continuously improve their service so tat people don't switch.
    edited October 2016
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