Retail giant Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) just unveiled its newest proprietary offering, a Spotify- and Apple Music-killer streaming music service dubbed Amazon Music Unlimited.
The service promises not only tens of millions of songs to choose from, along with curated playlists and personalized stations, but also unique voice controls linked to the company’s Alexa platform. From the press release:
“Amazon Music Unlimited brings real value to the millions of people who are already Prime members, with a choice of subscribing for only $7.99 a month or even $79 per year. Plus, customers are going to love Amazon Music’s all-new app for iOS, Android and desktop,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder and CEO. “And if you want a sense of the future of voice-controlled music, go ahead and ask Alexa for a free Music Unlimited trial, and play around on your Echo. If you don’t know the name of a song but know a few lyrics, if you want to hear songs from a specific decade, or even if you’re looking for music to match your mood, just ask.”
Amazon is offering two different pricing tiers at launch, with another family plan coming at some point in the future.
Existing Prime members can subscribe for $7.99 per month or $79 per year, while non-Prime members will pay $9.99 per month. A very unique separate Echo-focused pricing option is just $3.99 per month, but is limited to use on a single Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, or Amazon Tap speaker device.
For comparison, Spotify (currently the #1 streaming music service worldwide) offers a free ad-supported tier, along with ad-free Premium tiers of $9.99 per month for an individual subscription or $14.99 for a family plan. Apple Music’s pricing model is the same. (It should also be noted that Spotify offers a 50% discount for full-time students.)
Amazon is clearly looking to leverage its tens of millions of Prime members with the new offering, as its discounted Prime rate for Music Unlimited costs significantly less that the competition.
Today’s move follows a string of recent Prime service-related upgrades from the company. Amazon recently introduced Twitch Prime, a streaming video game service free for Prime members, as well as Prime Reading, which offers subscribers access to over 1,000 books and magazines each month at no additional charge.
Amazon shares rose $2.53 (+0.30%) to $833.53 in premarket trading Wednesday. Year-to-date, AMZN has gained 22.95%, easily outpacing the 4.69% return of the benchmark S&P 500 during the same period.