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After months of speculation, Amazon has launched its own ad-free, on-demand music streaming service. Amazon Music Unlimited is designed to compete directly with Spotify, Apple Music, and all of the other music streaming services already available.

Amazon Music Unlimited offers access to “tens of millions” of songs from the major record labels and thousands of indies. It also offers access to playlists and personalized radio stations. And the ability to download songs for offline listening. So far, so familiar.

Even the standard pricing is, well, standard, with regular schmoes (non-Prime members) paying $9.99-per-month. However, Amazon Prime members 6 Amazon Prime Benefits You Might Be Ignoring Right Now 6 Amazon Prime Benefits You Might Be Ignoring Right Now Scratch the surface. Amazon Prime has so many more benefits that people have forgotten about or simply don't realize exist. Read More only have to pay $7.99-per-month, and there’s an Echo plan costing just $3.99-per-month for owners of Amazon’s smart speaker. A family plan costing $14.99-per-month for up to six people will debut later this year.

The Echo-only plan is an intriguing premise. For $3.99-per-month, which is the lowest asking price for a music streaming service we’re aware of, you get to play unlimited music on your Amazon Echo Amazon Echo Review and Giveaway Amazon Echo Review and Giveaway Amazon’s Echo offers a unique integration between voice recognition, personal assistant, home automation controls, and audio playback features for $179.99. Does the Echo break into new ground or can you do better elsewhere? Read More (or Dot or Tap). Which makes sense if that’s how you always listen to music at home.

Is Amazon Music Unlimited Too Little Too Late?

Amazon Music Unlimited is being offered in addition to Amazon Prime Music Why You Should Give Amazon Prime Music a Second Chance Why You Should Give Amazon Prime Music a Second Chance There are several reasons why you might want to give Amazon Prime Music a second chance. It certainly deserves much more credit than it's currently getting. Read on to find out why. Read More . The former is a full-fledged Spotify competitor, with the latter offering a fraction of the features for free. Amazon Prime subscribers happy with the limitations of Prime Music can simply ignore the lure of Music Unlimited.

Amazon is hoping Music Unlimited will compete with the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play Music Spotify vs. Apple Music vs. Google Play Music: Which Is Best? Spotify vs. Apple Music vs. Google Play Music: Which Is Best? While there are lots of music streaming services around, there are three major ones that stand out above the others: Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play Music. But which is best? Read More . On the one hand, it’s a latecomer to the game, and is therefore playing catch-up. But on the other hand, it has a strong ecosystem and a ready-made set of potential subscribers.

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Music Unlimited is available now, with a 30-day free trial for commitment-phobes. A refreshed Amazon Music app with a brand new user interface is available for PC, Mac, Android, iOS, Sonos, Bose, Fire devices, the web, and more.

What do you think of Amazon Music Unlimited? Are you likely to sign up for the free trial? Or are you happy with your current music streaming service? Are you at all tempted by the cheaper Echo-only plan? Please let us know in the comments below!

  1. Jason McDonald
    October 12, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    I love my Spotify, and especially the personal recommendations it gives. It's pretty good at predicting what I will like, and I use it every day. However, since I am a Prime subscriber with an Echo, I may give them another shot. The thing I hated most when Prime Music first launched was the actual app. It was no competition for Spotify's UI, and I didn't like it at all. Since the article mentions a new layout and a free trial, I have nothing to lose to try it out for a month. But as far as being a Spotify-killer, I rather doubt it. They would have to beat Spotify at pricing, catalog, UI, and personalized taste-based recommendations to win me over, and I just don't expect it. Being able to use my own library of MP3's could be a plus, but Google offers that as well - I tried them for a free month, and even though they have a solid offering overall, I didn't find anything compelling enough to claw me away from Spotify there either, and I expect more of the same from Amazon.

    • likefunbutnot
      October 13, 2016 at 1:46 am

      I completely do not understand the appeal of Spotify. You pay $10/month to access your own music? And people like that? And it does the same stuff otherwise as Pandora, only with a bigger monthly bill? And it doesn't do anything else?

      With Prime + Prime Music, I'm paying the same $10 month, but I'm getting all the stuff Prime does. Or if I do Youtube Red, I get Google Play Music's full streaming thing plus the usual 50,000 uploaded tracks (which is actually free, no Spotify needed) and the ad-free Youtube experience.

      I have no earthly idea what Spotify is doing that even comes close to the utility of either of the above.

      • Jason McDonald
        October 13, 2016 at 5:43 pm

        "Pay $10/month to listen to your own music?" No, that's not at all what Spotify does. That's like saying "You pay for Netflix to watch your own TV?" Of course not. Spotify is music content. It's the largest content library of all of the services. And while it does include the "station" feature like Pandora, that is really a side-note, and the similarity ends there.

        It's not for listening to your own music, in fact it's biggest disadvantage is that you *can't* listen to your own files with it, like you can with Google. Otherwise it does everything that every other service does, and more, with (imo) the nicest UI of all of them, and the biggest and most well-rounded feature set.

        When using a family plan, Spotify is also cheaper than the others, because $15/month covers four people with all of the benefits of a full account.

        As for the feature set, it does a whole lot more, including the best service for personalized taste recommendations and discovery.

        You can make playlists, of course, but there are also curated playlists, shared playlists, playlists the artists create ("What we play on our tour-bus" or "our pre-show list" or "music we love" are popular list types from a ton of artists.)

        There was an article on this site a 3-4 months ago that compared some of the features of each of the 3 main services, (Apple/Google/Spotify). I'd really suggest giving that article a read, or better yet, giving the free trial a go, and see for yourself why so many people love it.

        One last thing that article doesn't cover but is worth mentioning - Spotify has a lot more 3rd party integration than the other services do; for example, when you buy a Roku an official Spotify channel comes installed. Same with just about every smart TV on the market, many digital media players, and even a ton of car stereos integrate the app (Ford Sync includes full hands-free control, for example) and it is just in a lot more places than the others. I've found that part very useful. My home theater receiver, my blu-ray player, my Roku, and my Ford truck all have Spotify features.

        So, really the only advantage that any other service has, in my opinion, is that you can upload your own files with Google. Which is great if you have files that Spotify doesn't, like a bunch of bootleg Grateful Dead Albums, or your friends band rehearsals. But if your files are record-label-released albums, They're pretty likely to already be in Spotify's catalog. As for ad-free YouTube...yeah I block those anyway, I never see any ads on YouTube.

  2. likefunbutnot
    October 12, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    I pay the extra $2/month so I can store 250,000 tracks from my Amazon Cloud Drive and play them through Amazon Music. If that $4/month is rolled up for being an Echo owner, I might try it, but my musical taste is such that I doubt I'd find it any more compelling than just putting music I already have in my personal storage space. Otherwise, meh.

  3. GodSponge
    October 12, 2016 at 11:30 am

    I'd certainly subscribe if we had the money. $7.99 isn't too bad a price point and we are already well into the Amazon ecosystem with music.

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