Amazon has launched its long-rumored on-demand music streaming service.
It's called Amazon Music Unlimited, and it is meant to take on Spotify and Apple Music and other similar streaming services. Here's everything you need to know about it, including how much it costs, where it's available, whether it's ad-free, how it works, and more.
What is Amazon Music Unlimited?
There are two different types of music streaming services: internet radio-like ones that randomly play music for you based on your preferences (example: Pandora), and on-demand ones that let you find and play specific tunes (examples: Spotify and Apple Music). Amazon Music Unlimited is the latter type, but it comes with a number of different things, including a low-cost price, that make it stand out from rivals.
Who can use Amazon Music Unlimited?
Amazon Music Unlimited is available everyone, including Amazon Prime members - but it costs extra on top of the Prime membership fee, which is $99 per year (students can get a price discount). The first 30 days of Prime are free, and you can cancel at any time. As a Prime member, you get free two-day shipping on eligible purchases, unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Prime Video, and more.
How much does Amazon Music Unlimited cost?
Amazon Music Unlimited is available to Amazon Prime members for $79 per year (or $7.99 per month). That's cheaper than the $9.99-per-month Apple Music and the $9.99 premium option for Spotify. If you own an Amazon Echo device, you can get the service for just $3.99 per month. Amazon currently offers three different Amazon Echo models (you can read about there differences via Pocket-lint's comparison guide).
If you're not a Prime member and don't own an Echo, you can use Amazon Music Unlimited for $9.99 a month. Amazon also said it will soon offer a $14.99-per-month family plan for up to six family members. That's the same price as Apple Music's family plan option.
How do you sign up for Amazon Music Unlimited?
Go to the Amazon Music Unlimited website to get started with the free trial. You will have to sign up using your Amazon login credentials and authorise Amazon to charge your default card or another card on file after your trial ends. Your subscription renews monthly, but you can cancel the renewal at any time by visiting Your Amazon Music Settings. If you use Echo, simply ask Alexa to start your trial to Amazon Music Unlimited.
Where is Amazon Music Unlimited available?
Amazon Music Unlimited is now available in the US. It will be available for customers in the UK, Germany, and Austria later this year.
Which devices work with Amazon Music Unlimited?
Amazon Music Unlimited is accessible through the Amazon Music app for Fire devices, iOS devices, and Android devices, as well as Mac and PC. You can also access it through a web player in your browser and through the company's Echo devices. You can play music through a Sonos Multi-Room system or Roku media streamer, as well. Amazon said select BMW, Ford, and Mini cars are even Amazon Music-enabled.
- Go here to access the Amazon Music Unlimited web player
- Go here to access the Amazon Music Unlimited mobile apps
How does Amazon Music Unlimited work?
Amazon Music Unlimited is similar to Apple Music and Spotify in that it offers "tens of millions" of songs you can listen to on-demand, ad-free. It also serves up recommendations engine through algorithms and hand-picked playlists, and you can access it via mobile apps and the web. Amazon even redesigned its existing Amazon Music app with support the streaming service and an all-new user interface that focuses on album art.
Amazon is pushing the service's integration with Echo and the Alexa voice assistant. Not only do Echo owners have access to a cheaper version of the service (but it’s only available on one Echo device at a time), they can request songs using just their voices. They can stream a specific song, artist, album, or playlist, and Alexa can even pull up the "latest song" from an artist or play music based on mood, time, activity, etc.
Alexa can also find songs from snippets of lyrics. Although the discounted Echo plan is limited to only one device (you cannot use it on your phone, PC, tablet, or even more than one Echo device), it offers all the same features, including the full music catalogue and recommendations. If Echo owners don't get Music Unlimited, Amazon's existing Prime Music service will still be available to them with a library of two million songs.
Amazon Music Unlimited is offering a unique feature called Side-by-Side. It syncs artists' commentary with racks from the their catalogues. This is how Amazon described the feature:
Amazon Music on Alexa also brings fans and artists closer together with behind-the-scenes artist commentary about their music, called Side-by-Sides. Customers can simply ask, “Alexa, play Side-by-Side with OneRepublic” and Ryan Tedder will play and comment on songs from OneRepublic’s latest album Oh My My. Side-by-Sides are available exclusively on Amazon Music from top artists such as The Chainsmokers, Jason Aldean, Lindsey Stirling, Norah Jones, OneRepublic and Kongos – with more being added all the time.
Want to know more?
Check out Amazon's promo video above, or visit Pocket-lint's Amazon hub for more related news.