Amazon Announces New Ad-Supported Streaming Music Service

Amazon has put all of last week’s rumors to rest by finally announcing, officially, the launch of its new music-streaming service. If this sounds a little confusing it might have something to do with the fact that Amazon already has two existing music-streaming services.  This new one, however, is ad-supported and designed to work with Alexa-enabled devices; and, more importantly, built to compete with Spotify. 

The new Amazon ad-supported streaming music service debuted on Thursday among a few other updates for the technology company. Amazon is touting the service as a free alternative for customers have an Alexa-enabled device (typically a smart speaker) but do not also have a Prime membership (which would provide access to Prime music) or have an existing subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited.  And, yes, Amazon Music Unlimited is already a streaming music service that competes with Spotify.

All that said, the free ad-supported streaming service shares its library with the existing Amazon Prime Music library, which has about 2 million songs in its catalog.  Amazon Music Unlimited, on the other hand, has more than 50 million songs. If you want to use the service, you can simply ask your voice-activated Alexa-enabled device to pull up an artist, song, genre, or playlist. 

Now, accessing Amazon Music through a voice-activated device is nothing new: Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music all have this feature.  However, many experts argue that the Alexa-enabled devices—and Amazon’s accompanying streaming services—are a better fit.  After all, smart speakers are designed to optimize sound—like music—and, more importantly, Amazon has already sold 100 million Alexa-enabled devices. And, perhaps most important, a recent investigation from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners determined that Amazon Echo devices make up roughly 70 percent of all smart speakers sold in the United States.

This all could be part of Amazon’s strategy to get into every nook and cranny of the streaming world as the tech giant has recently called a truce with Google. That means you can now access YouTube on Fire TV and that you can get access to Amazon Prime Video on Chromecast devices.