Amazon launched its own streaming music service — Prime Music — Thursday (June 12), but it’s not like Spotify and the rest are going to be shaking in their boots any time soon. Despite having all the trappings of a subscription service, Prime Music is more for hardcore Amazon users than eager music fans.
First, the basics: Prime Music is basically an add-on to the preexisting Amazon Prime service, which, for $99 per year, gives users access to faster shipping, on-demand TV shows and movies, and e-book lending. Now, those users — and only those users — will be able to get wider access to music as well.
So, what does that access entail? According to a release, Prime Music includes more than one-million songs, the ability to mix streaming songs with songs you own in your music library, the ability to make and listen to playlists, ad-free listening, off-line playback (listen on the train!), and access to your music across devices. The service will be available on Kindle Fire HD/HDX, iOS, Android, PC, Mac, and the Web. Those who are not currently Prime users can also check it all out for 30 days for free.
All that access for $99 seems like a pretty good deal, but there are some drawbacks. First of all, services like Spotify have tons more music — 20-million songs to be exact. Also, as The Verge points out, Universal Music Group has yet to make a deal with the service, which means Jay Z, Kanye West, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and more will not be included in its library. Also, newer hits won’t make their way to Amazon on release day — as they often do on Spotify — instead trickling onto the service months later.
So, is Prime Music worth a check-out? If you’re a big music fan looking for a new go-to service, the answer to that, likely, would be no. However, if you’re a heavy Amazon user, $99 per year seems like a small price to pay for access to not only movies and books, but music, too.