Amazon.com Inc. has revealed plans to introduce a new, limited music streaming service for subscribers of Amazon Prime, who will have access to thousands of songs free and without advertising interruptions. The catch? Many new releases will not be included at this time, and the service will also exclude the catalog of Universal Music Group (the world’s largest music company), as the companies were unable to reach an agreement.
“We’re not claiming to have full coverage at this time,” said Amazon’s VP of digital music Steve Boom, in an interview with The LA Times. However, he did add that new songs would be added to Prime Music every month. While Amazon’s streaming music service will jump into a market that is maturing and seen as a threat to the music industry – as services such as Pandora, Spotify, Beats and Rhapsody replace CD’s and download purchases – Boom doesn’t even see Amazon’s new service as a threat to other streaming services, “We don’t view this as a zero-sum game – we thing people will continue to listen to multiple music services.”
This is evident in sheer size of catalogs that are offered between Amazon and its competitors. Already one of the largest retailers of music downloads, Amazon simply cannot compete with the other services in overall offerings. The battle that Amazon does compete in, however, comes from the fact that the company already has 244 million active accounts, with over 20 million Prime subscribers. While subscription fees were recently raised to $99 from $79, the new service is included in those fees, and comes with several perks: it is ad-free, users receive unlimited streaming and can choose songs and albums to listen to, or rely on Amazon’s pre-programmed playlists and personalized recommendations, and can also download songs from the catalog to their mobile devices for free. The strategy here is to have the more casual listener and inexperienced streaming user become more active in the service, which plays to Amazon’s advantage, regardless of the size of their overall catalog.
If you are an owner of Kindle Fire and HDX devices, you will receive Prime Music in an automatic, over-the-air update. For Android and iOS customers, upgrades and downloads are availalble through the latest Amazon Music app.