Prime Music: Amazon launches new music streaming service

Amazon has rolled out a new music streaming service on its US site this morning. Called Prime Music, it adds to Amazon Prime’s $99 a year subscription service for two-day delivery. Amazon Prime already included access to 40,000 films and TV shows and a Kindle lending library of 500,000 books.

Now subscribers will also be able to stream or download songs for free, with no ads. But with only a million songs on offer, it’s not yet likely to threaten the dominance of Spotify and Apple’s newly-purchased Beats Music, which each have more than 20 million songs. But it does mean that customers who weren’t happy with the recent price raise from $79 might feel like they’re getting a little more for their money.

Some of the record labels Amazon has done deals with will allow for instant release of tracks onto the service, but others will take six months. The company is still negotiating with Universal Music Group, meaning none of their artists are available yet (bad news for fans of Gaga and Kanye). The service features hundreds of playlists curated by Amazon staff, with more of a focus on artists’ back catalogues than newer albums.

It’s not clear when Prime Music might make it to the UK, but Amazon does tend to extend its products and services to this side of the pond eventually. Back in February, they turned Lovefilm into Prime Instant Video, a streaming subscription service that costs £5.99 a month for access to 15,000 movies and TV shows. They also bundled streaming with Amazon Prime and took the opportunity to increase the price from £49 to £79, which was aimed at covering the cost of one-day delivery but wasn’t especially popular with customers. Adding a little music to the mix couldn’t hurt.

Diane Shipley