Amazon’s new music streaming service lets subscribers listen to a million songs. Just browse the Amazon music store, add albums, songs, or playlists to your library, and you can stream them.
While Amazon Prime Music doesn’t have as many songs as rivals Spotify or Google Play Music, lacks access to recent hits, and has no music from Universal Music Group… that probably doesn’t matter. Because here’s the thing: It’s all bundled with Amazon’s existing Prime service.
So existing members don’t have to pay a penny extra to use Prime Music… but the perk could make the service more valuable. It also sweetens the deal for prospective new Prime members.
Here’s what you now get for $99 per year if you’re in the United States:
- Free 2-day shipping on millions of items
- Access to thousands of TV shows and movies
- A million songs that you can stream to a PC browser or mobile device
- Ability to borrow up to one book per month from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library
While Amazon doesn’t have the best selection of content, for about the same price as rival services, Amazon Prime offers videos, music, eBooks and free shipping. It’s a tough deal to beat… although none of that matters unless the service has the books, songs, music, and videos you actually want to read, listen to, and watch.
You can’t simply search for a song or artist and hit a button to start playing music. First, you need to add content to your library… where it’ll mingle with any songs or albums you’ve already purchased from Amazon MP3. This might be another key to why Amazon is launching Prime Music: when you search for an album to add to your streaming library it might not be included with your Prime subscription. But odds are there’ll be a button that lets you buy the album outright.
The Amazon Prime Music selection is a bit spotty. I tend to keep a running list of albums I might want to purchase in the future using an Amazon wishlist. When I scrolled down the list this morning most of the albums were unavailable on Amazon Prime Music… but some were available. In some cases, most of the songs on an album were available, but there were one or two songs that keeps a blue “add to library” button from appearing next to the album name.
Not into full albums? No problem. You can add individual songs to your library or choose from a series of playlists such as “50 great classic rock songs,” “Prince’s top songs,” or “relaxing indie rock.”
If you’re frustrated trying to find albums from artists that aren’t included, the playlists offer a pretty good alternative. Just choose a playlist from the Amazon Prime Music page and you’ll be able to start listening to whatever’s on the label… no additional browsing or searching required.
Overall, Amazon Prime Music probably isn’t going to convince anyone to cancel their Spotify or Rdio subscriptions. But it certainly sweetens the deal for Amazon Prime subscribers… and helps explain the recent price hike from $79 per year to $99.