Prime Music

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.

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Comments (4)
  1. Thanks a lot Amazon but this is pretty much worthless!

    No serious music fan is going to pony up $100 per year exclusively for this service– not when you can get the same thing on Spotify for a fraction of the cost, not to mention that they have already negotiated with labels to play the hits. How do they expect me to turn it up to a “Feel Good Country” playlist WITHOUT Taylor Swift?!

    I feel like this a feeble attempt to grab a corner of the market but, to me, encouraging a love of music comes across as an afterthought.

    Anyway. This is just another middle man between the artist and the listener. Another Spotify, iTunes, Pandora, etc.– featuring focus-group-tested preprogrammed playlists that hate it when you listen to that classic album start finish or lose your shit when you meticulously build a playlist that only makes sense to you (I made one recently featuring, among others,: Black Sabbath, Beyoncé, Yo Yo Ma, Tame Impala, Grizzly Bear, Dolly Parton, and Wu Tang Clan)

    Tl;dr: Bandcamp and KickStarter are the most successful and natural evolutions in the digital realm, responding to the original music industry earthquake– MySpace.

    • Spotify Premium costs $10 a month, so $120 a year. And that’s just for streaming music.
      Amazon Prime already existed, and cost, $99/year BEFORE music streaming was added.
      So essentially, Prime Music is $20 less than Spotify per year, and you get the added bonus of 2 day shipping on tons of stuff Amazon sells, streaming movies, and free book borrowing through Kindle.
      Granted there are some big gaps in the current offering of Prime Music, but I am pretty sure the worlds #1 online retailer for EVERYTHING could plug those gaps soon.
      And no, I don’t work for Amazon. Nor am I even a Prime subscriber… Yet.
      Just thought the above response was grossly misinformed.
      That playlist does sound interesting though!

  2. To someone who spends an egregious amount of money online shopping like myself its really easy to see the benefits of prime and I’ve been a member almost two years now. Amazon really does have all the goods when it comes to most stuff and all I really buy is cds and movies which are usually the lowest possible price you can get them. There’s even a discount on prime for students which is really cool. The movie streaming they have is actually really varied and imo takes out Netflix (although I have both because I’m a nerd and what maximum possible streaming options). They also just put all the good HBO series on there which is just nuts for t.v. nerds who have neglected dropping the 60 bucks on seasons or the HBO fee.

    I used to be a big proponent of Itunes but I’ve recently stopped advocating that because buying music on the cloud player is just so much easier. Ive always been super picky about Itunes being stingy with their sharing and not having their music already in mp3 format. For the amazon cloud player not only do I have the option of sharing with 10 other computers (my friends) but everything is so easily transferred between my phone and my computer that it was a no brainer switching over. I don’t have an iphone so having all my music accessible from my phone was something new and convincing to me. As far as this added streaming it will be pretty cool but prime is already loaded with goodies that it probably wont end up mattering to someone like me who buys music regularly. Still I can see how if you don’t spend a lot of money online that it might seem unnecessary but its so worth the cost if you plan on using Amazon a lot which I can’t stress enough how efficient it is.

    I could honestly go on and on why I love amazon but the bottom line is that its just the ultimate online shopping store and if you use it a lot like I do the prime membership pays for itself.

  3. This is awesome because:
    A) I already pay for Prime for streaming and shipping, so this is icing on the cake.
    B) I don’t use iTunes, so integrating streaming with Amazon’s already very-decent MP3 store will be great.
    C) I could stop paying for Spotify in the near future.

    Really though, Prime’s a great investment already what with the shipping and the streaming (HBO shows! I can watch the Wire without spending $140), so this is awesome news. Even if it isn’t fully fleshed out yet, I’m sure Amazon will work that out in the next couple of months.

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