In this article, you’ll learn more about Amazon Music Unlimited and see how it compares to Spotify and Apple Music.
Amazon Music Unlimited
Not to be confused with Amazon Music (formerly Amazon MP3), Amazon Music Unlimited is a music streaming service that offers “tens of millions” of songs with new releases from today’s most popular artists. Like other premium music streaming services on the market, Amazon Music Unlimited allows you to listen to your favorite songs on-demand. You can also download your songs to your devices for offline use.
Isn’t This Amazon Prime Music?
If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you already have access to over 2 million songs at no additional cost. You also receive a thousand playlists and stations programmed by Amazon’s music experts. A membership to Amazon Music Unlimited, by contrast, increases the number of songs available considerably. You also gain access to new genres and styles of music.
The best way to explain the difference between the two services (in additional to the library size) is how each handles new music releases. Amazon Music Unlimited will almost certainly have the newest album from your favorite artist on day one of its release. Amazon Prime Music probably won’t.
Not surprisingly, Amazon Music Unlimited works with Amazon Alexa voice controls, found on devices such as the Echo, Dot, and Tap. For example, you can say “Alexa, play the new song by One Republic” or “Alexa, play the latest album by Rihanna.” You can also try commands like “Alexa, play the most popular rock from the 80s” or “Alexa, play music for a dinner party.”
Amazon Music Unlimited is available on multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, Mac, PC, Fire TV, Fire tablets, and on the web. Additionally, it works with home entertainment products such as Sonos, Roku, and Bose. The service is also coming on new cars from Ford, BMW, and Mini.
At the time of this writing, Amazon Music Unlimited is only available in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and Austria.
Offering exclusive content is one of the ways music streaming services hope to keep customers. Despite being the newest service on our list, Amazon Music Unlimited got a huge exclusive to end 2016. It’s the first streaming service to feature Garth Brooks’ entire 16-album collection. The best-selling solo artist in US history had never allowed digital downloads for any of his music until now.
Amazon Prime members can subscribe to Amazon Music Unlimited for $7.99 per month, which is $2 off the standard monthly price. You can save a little extra by paying $79 per year upfront. Amazon also offers a family plan for $14.99 per month or $149.99 per year. With the family plan, you and your family can stream music on up to six devices at the same time.
If you only want to stream music from your Amazon Alexa device, the company offers a low-cost option for $3.99 per month.
New users can try Amazon Music Unlimited free for 30 days.
Given that iTunes brought digital music to the mainstream way back in 2001, it’s surprising that it took so long for Apple to offer a music streaming service of its own. First launched in June 2015, Apple Music provides a combination of on-demand music and curated playlists. As with Amazon Music Unlimited, Apple Music allows you to download music for offline use as long as you continue being a subscriber.
When it first launched, Apple Music placed great emphasis on the service’s Beats 1 internet radio station and a blog platform called Connect. Featuring live broadcasts 24 hours a day, Beats 1 features anchors Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden, and Julie Adenuga, among others. Connect is for artists to share their posts, photos, videos, and tracks with subscribers.
Apple Music still hosts Beats 1 and Connect, although the two features have taken on far less importance in recent months. In September 2016, Apple began rolling out two new personalized music playlists called “My New Music Mix” and “My Favorite Mix.” The former is similar to Spotify’s popular “Discover Weekly” playlist. Both offer music based on your listening history.
Not surprisingly, Apple Music is available across all of Cupertino’s key products, iOS devices, Apple TV, and Apple Watch. It’s also available through iTunes on Mac/PC and Android devices. You can also stream Apple Music through CarPlay and Sonos systems.
Apple Music is available in over 100 countries around the world with more coming online each month. If you’re reading this article, it’s likely that Apple Music is available where you are.
With iTunes, Apple was a master at offering content before anyone else. The company has had similar success with Apple Music. In its short life, Apple Music has been the home to exclusive music from Taylor Swift, Lil Yachty, Usher, Frank Ocean, among others. These exclusives usually have a short window, allowing the music to spread to other services after a period of time.
An individual Apple Music plan costs $9.99 per month. A family plan, which is good for up to six people, is priced at $14.99 per month. Student plans are available at $4.99 per month.
New subscribers can try Apple Music free for three months.
With 40 million paying customers worldwide, Spotify is the world’s top music-streaming service. First introduced in Sweden in 2006, the service is available in all corners of the world, including most of Europe, the Americas, and parts of Asia.
Unlike Apple Music, Spotify offers a free plan that includes ads. Though highly restrictive, this program allows would-be subscribers to experience Spotify without paying a dime. Offering this type of availability seems to be working, as there are currently 100 million Spotify total users worldwide.
Like the other services on our list, Spotify Premium gives you the ability to play any song, both on-demand and offline. Where Spotify Premium excels is with its “Discover Weekly” feature, which suggests music based on your music preferences and listening history. You also have access to custom playlists, which are put together by theme, decades, and genre.
To date, Spotify is available in nearly 60 countries with more coming online each year.
New subscribers can try Spotify Premium free for 30 days.
Spotify isn’t known for offering many exclusives. The biggest news on this front, in fact, has been when artists have withheld new albums from the service due to royalty issues. Where Spotify does excel, however, is when it comes to curation. It offers lots of artist information, making it very easy to find songs to enjoy. It also does an excellent job of recommending additional artists based on your earlier preferences.
Spotify Premium is available for $9.99 per month for an individual subscription and $14.99 per month for a family plan. Students can purchase a subscription for $4.99 per month.
Which Music Streaming Service Is Best?
In general terms, Amazon Music Unlimited, Apple Music, and Spotify Premium offer the same underlying features, on-demand music and the ability to download songs for offline listening. From there, each provides unique extras worth considering.
Amazon Music Unlimited is a great choice for Amazon Prime subscribers because of the extra discount it provides. Hardcore Amazon Alexa users can also benefit from selecting this service.
By contrast, if your world revolves around Apple products, Apple Music is probably the one for you. One of the biggest advantages of going this route is that Apple Music automatically merges your streaming content with what you’ve purchased from iTunes. This feature is a big deal if you’re looking to expand your current library across multiple devices.
Spotify Premium, meanwhile, is the best service for music discovery. This is an important point to consider if you’re the type of person that appreciates finding new music and artists.
As you can see, all three premium music streaming services have their advantages. You should therefore choose the one which best caters to your specific needs. However, I personally consider Apple Music the best option right now, unless of course you’re averse to all things Apple.
Besides offering iTunes integration, Apple Music is the only one of the three premium music streaming services being compared here offering a 90-day free trial. Which will give you plenty of time to determine whether it’s the service for you.
What music streaming service do you currently use? What made you choose that music streaming service over the competition? Are you happy with your current choice or are you considering switching? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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