Amazon Prime Music Kicks Off in the U.S.

amazon_prime_musicIt seems that everyone is getting into the streaming music market these days, including Amazon who launched Amazon Prime Music in the United States late last week. The new service is being bundled into the existing Amazon Prime subscription service rather than launched as a standalone product.

That means that existing Amazon Prime customers paying $99 a year for free shipping, streaming of TV shows and films, plus access to a lending library of e-books will now also be able to access Prime Music’s catalogue of streaming songs. The service is ad-free, with no restrictions on how often individual songs can be played and is compatible with iOS, Android, PC and Mac devices, as well as Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets. Customers will be able to download songs for offline listening too.

Prime Music also includes “hundreds of Prime Playlists” created by Amazon’s editorial team, grouped by genre (Pop, Alternative & Indie Rock) as well as context (Happy & Upbeat, Party Time & Entertaining, Work, Study & Reading etc.).

At launch, Amazon Prime Music has “over a million songs,” which may seem considerably smaller than rival services; by contrast, Spotify and Deezer both claim to have more than 30 million songs. Another difference: new content will only be made available 6 months after its original release date. So it has less music and limited content, which begs the question of how appealing this service will be to consumers.

Some critics have already chimed in. BusinessWeek called the service “half-baked,” declaring “there is little reason to believe that Prime Music will lure people away from Spotify or Rdio.” The tech columnist at USAToday agreed: “If you’re already a paying subscriber to Spotify, or huge fan of Pandora, nothing in Amazon’s new Prime Music offering, introduced last Thursday, will make you want to switch.”

I think for the time being, Prime Music will be viewed as a perk or extra for already existing Prime members and can also be seen as a great re-introduction to Amazon Music. To find out for yourself, check out the introductory video below and try it out free for 30 days:

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