Hey, US residents: Amazon has just come up with a new reason for you to subscribe to its Prime service – or rather, one million new reasons.
Yes, the retailer has just launched a new Spotify-style music streaming service, available free-of-charge to all Prime customers in the US. Amazon Prime Music may currently only offer the streaming of “over one million” tracks (ad-free, with playlist support) to Spotify’s seven million, but it’s sure to snatch away a few Spotify Premium subscribers. After all, for a Prime user who also shells out every month for Spotify Premium, there’s potentially $120 a year to be saved.
So, the service itself. Like Spotify Premium, it’s ad-free and allows songs to be synced to devices for offline playback. It also features “Prime Playlists”, which Amazon describes as “hand crafted collections of songs”. These or your own playlists can be stored in the cloud and music can be played back on a range of devices: Amazon’s own Kindle Fire tablets (naturally); iOS and Android phones and tablets; and PC and Mac computers. And the timing of the service’s launch probably isn’t an accident, with Amazon reportedly poised to announce its very first smartphone any day now.
The music service adds to the perks already available to Amazon Prime subscribers: free expedited shipping (two-day in the US, one-day in the UK); the Prime Instant Video movie and TV show streaming service; and 500,000 free ebooks through the Kindle Lending Library.
The announcement is likely to increase the perception that UK customers are getting something of a raw deal compared to their US cousins, however. Prime costs £79 a year in the UK but just $99 (around £60) in the US, and UK users don’t get the music service – at least not yet. We’d be very surprised if Amazon didn’t eventually roll it out beyond America (as it did with Instant Video), but it could well be a few months until that happens.