Amazon has been discussing plans to create a free music service to compete with Spotify and Apple Music. The program will be entirely ad-supported and free for anyone who owns a branded Echo smart speaker, although it is unclear whether this is the only option for listening. The new service will reportedly be powered by Alexa and marketed with the company’s wide array of assistant speakers. Sources say the new service could be launching in as early as a week.
Amazon’s current role in the music industry is limited to basic Prime Music services for all Prime subscribers and its added subscription brother Prime Music Unlimited which comes at $9.99 a month and includes more titles. Neither of these offerings has been at the same level as the household names Spotify and Apple Music. Spotify has consistently remained king among all music streaming up until recently when Apple reportedly passed it in the number of paid subscribers. Amazon now seeks to take its own punch at Spotify and is hesitant to give away any further information.
Up until now, Spotify was the only main music provider that offered any free tier for listeners. Those who choose not to upgrade to the premium version can listen to the expansive library; however, are not able to specify the order in which they hear the songs. Amazon’s new project could be a real contender, assuming they can perform at the same high level that Spotify does. The only concern currently is the reported limited catalog that Amazon is going to offer. If it turns out to be too limited, listeners would have a significant reason to stick with Spotify and still save some bucks without a subscription.
It is uncertain whether Amazon will fall suit with Spotify’s free version in being more of a radio-style system, or whether users will have more freedom in how they jam out. This unspecificity holds a lot to be found out and could be a large reason as to whether it succeeds or fails.
The best quality of Amazon’s fresh music take could be that it is free to listeners. It will be supported by ads, however, which means there still is an advantage to a subscription plan. Amazon mentioned that they have offered to pay a few record labels to stream on its service aside from any advertisement funds.
Less popular streaming services such as Google Play Music, Youtube Music, and Pandora currently bait listeners as well; they are just not as effective. Pandora falls into the radio-style category and has been around for almost two decades. Subscription music has gained immense popularity and Pandora remains ad-funded and free. Whether this contributes to it being less trendy is not for sure. Both Google Play and Youtube Music remain at a subscription level, with Google allowing users to buy songs and albums outright. There is definitely still room in the market of music streaming. The only questions are: How much is left? and How much of it can Amazon take back from Spotify and Apple?
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