Headphone-based speculations aside, Apple allegedly acquired Beats Music in part because iTunes Radio was not a true competitor for Spotify in the streaming wars. Now it looks like Amazon, one of Apple’s top competitors in digital music retail, is starting its own on-demand streaming service. Prime Music launches today as part of Amazon’s subscription-based Prime service, which already provides subscribers with perks such as free two-day shipping and on-demand streaming for TV and movies. Essentially, they’re adding value to Prime’s $99 annual fee, which was already worth the investment if you use Amazon a lot.
The Verge has an extensive rundown, but to sum it up: All of Amazon’s music products (the MP3 Store, the Cloud Player, Prime Music) are being combined under the new Amazon Music banner, which means you can do all the music things you used to do on Amazon in one streamlined environment. Prime Music also offers curated playlists a la Beats with titles such as “Feel Good Country,” “Bedford Ave. Hipster Hits” (“from the bearded borough,” LOL), and “Classic Rock For Runners.” Streamable music is marked with the familiar Prime logo, and although Amazon is starting with a library of more than 1 million songs, it hasn’t worked out a deal with Universal Music Group yet, which means dozens of major artists including Kanye West, Frank Ocean, Taylor Swift, U2, and Lady Gaga are not available yet. Here’s hoping Amazon gets a deal worked out soon because if Prime Music turns out to be as convenient as Prime Instant Video, this thing could be rad — not necessarily a Spotify-killer, but good enough to make waves in the industry, as The Verge explains:
But with Amazon’s influence, it’s easy to see Prime Music lapping smaller players like Rdio and Beats Music in no time. And the company doesn’t necessarily need to beat Spotify at its own game. The goal is to draw in new Prime customers, and Boom suggested that there’s room for several players in this race. Prime Music is in a unique position to become your other music app. Maybe you’re a loyal Pandora listener with a Prime subscription; you’ve just gained a way to listen to countless songs on demand.
In other words, Amazon has quietly come up with a brilliant plan to lure people away from ad-supported music “radio” and fledgling streaming apps, all while making it feel as though Prime Music costs nothing extra. For many of us, Prime’s $99 annual fee is a downright necessity. Starting today, we’re getting even more for that money. Just add Universal and it may prove good enough for many people. “Good enough” is what Spotify should be afraid of. And just think of how nice this will be on a phone.
Poke around Prime Music here.