Apple Music has a new competitor in the form of Amazon, which today launched music streaming service Amazon Music Unlimited.
The premium service carries the same $9.99 monthly fee as Apple Music for regular users, although Prime customers get a reduced $7.99 monthly charge — while owners of the Amazon Echo can use an Amazon Music Unlimited subscription through the standalone device for a mere $3.99 per month.
Coming with a 30-day free trial, the new Music Unlimited service will also offer a family plan option, which is reportedly “coming soon.”
The arrival of yet another music service is, in some ways, a case of “same old,” due to the vast number of options currently available. Unlike Apple Music or Tidal, Amazon Music Unlimited isn’t stocked with exclusives from the start — although Amazon’s attempts to take on Netflix with original programming suggest this isn’t totally out of the question.
Where it is tantalizing is in the Amazon Echo pricing option, both due to its low price point, and the AI technology Apple is incorporating into it. For instance, Amazon Echo users (or people using the Music Unlimited apps) can quote song lyrics to find particular tracks, or ask it to, for instance, “play me happy songs.”
Confusingly, Amazon Music Unlimited is a totally separate service from Amazon’s existing Prime music options, which advertises “a million songs.” Unlike that service, Amazon Music Unlimited will include many more tracks.
In all, it’s an impressive example of Amazon gauntlet throwing by offering the service at such a low price. For those who don’t remember, one of the big rumors about Apple Music was that Apple wanted to charge users five bucks a month, based on the idea that the average iTunes user spends $60 per year on downloaded music, which translates to $5 every four weeks.
However, the plan was shot down by record execs and Apple settled on its $10 price point for Apple Music (although students can get it cheaper than that).
By going ahead with a $3.99 pricing option, Amazon just stated its ambitions (and ability) to undercut other competitors. Now we just have to wait and see if this turns out to be an Amazon Prime Day-style stroke of genius or a Fire Phone disaster!