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With the introduction of Amazon Music Unlimited Amazon Launches Music Unlimited as a Spotify Killer Amazon Launches Music Unlimited as a Spotify Killer After months of speculation, Amazon has launched its own ad-free, on-demand music streaming service. So, what's the deal with Amazon Music Unlimited? Read More , there has never been a better time to introduce yourself to paid music streaming services, which continue to gain in popularity Why The Beatles Embraced Streaming and Why You Should Too Why The Beatles Embraced Streaming and Why You Should Too Music fans got an early Christmas present when, on December 24th, 2015, all of The Beatles' major albums were released on Spotify, Apple Music, and other streaming services. Here's why that matters. Read More .

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 Is Amazon Prime A Good Deal? Is Amazon Prime A Good Deal? Amazon Prime seems like a great deal, but is it? We dig into the benefits to figure out if they're worth the $99 per year. Read More , 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 Amazon Music Unlimited vs. Prime Music: What's the Difference? Amazon Music Unlimited vs. Prime Music: What's the Difference? Amazon recently unveiled a paid music product called Music Unlimited. How is it different from Prime Music? How much will it cost you? What will you get for your money? Read More (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.

Alexa

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.”

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Availability

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.

Exclusivity

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.

Costs

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.

Apple Music

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 10 Essential Apple Music Tips You Really Need to Know 10 Essential Apple Music Tips You Really Need to Know Since its launch in 2015, Apple Music has come a long way, baby. Unfortunately, it's still not the easiest or most intuitive service to get to grips with. Which is where we come in... Read More 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

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.

Availability

Not surprisingly, Apple Music is available How to Import Spotify, Rdio and More to Your Apple Music Collection How to Import Spotify, Rdio and More to Your Apple Music Collection What if you already have playlists on other services like Spotify and want to replicate those on Apple Music? Read More 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.

Exclusivity

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.

Costs

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.

Spotify Premium

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.

spotify

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.

Availability

You can find Spotify nearly everywhere, including iOS, Android, Amazon devices, Samsung Smart TVs, Roku, PlayStation, Sonos You Can Now Control Your Sonos With Spotify You Can Now Control Your Sonos With Spotify If you own a Sonos speaker, today is your lucky day. You will no longer have to make do with the underperforming Sonos app. Instead, you can now control your Sonos with Spotify! Read More , and more. You can also use Spotify on the web 7 Reasons to Start Using the Spotify Web Player Today 7 Reasons to Start Using the Spotify Web Player Today Spotify is about to shake things up by making the desktop and web app experiences more similar. So, it's about time many of us asked ourselves, Why not just use the web app instead? Read More .

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.

Exclusivity

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.

Cost

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.

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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 Discover New Music with Spotify's Automagic Playlists Discover New Music with Spotify's Automagic Playlists Spotify has recently released several new ways of generating unique playlists that will help you discover awesome new music. We're here to guide you through these automagic playlist makers. Read More . 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!

Image Credit: volkovslava via Shutterstock

  1. David Styles
    January 18, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Amazon Prime Unlimited because as well as the same as all the others you can additionally use your voice via the Amazon Echo devices to play music, much faster than typing and you don't need a phone, tablet or P.C. On to use it. Use an Echo Dot and Bluetooth link it to good hi fi speakers via an aptx dongle or active speakers and the system is unbeatable. Finally pay an annual fee and it is far cheaper than all the other services.

  2. Tom
    January 12, 2017 at 10:34 pm

    Like so many others have pointed-out, I'm shocked you intentionally omitted Google Play Music. While none of the services are perfect, GPM has been the best for me, and I've been a (paid) subscriber for years.

    I dumped Spotify when they couldn't get their act together with radio. I could be listening to jazz for an hour, and they'd suddenly give me a rap song... Hours into Beethoven & Bach, and they'd randomly inject hip-hop.

    Google seems to really have their act together when it comes to understanding my likes, and moods, and they figured-out (the first few days) that I'm not into rap or hip-hop -- something that seems to confound Spotify.

    Add to that the fact I can upload up-to 50,000 of my own tracks, and listen anywhere, on a ny device (it's completely platform-agnostic) and the service is a no-brainer.

  3. likefunbutnot
    January 12, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    My problem with more or less all streaming services is the incredibly poor way they handle classical music. The services themselves have incorrect meta-data or use non-uniform sources, so it's very common to find albums or tracks misidentified because the services don't discriminate between the "Artist", "Album Artist" and "Composer" information, or because there's no official album title or a title that's entirely duplicated like "Herbert von Karajon Conducts Beethoven's 9th Symphony" (classical albums are really more accurately discussed by their publisher's catalog number; what we computer people like to call a "primary key") and every music database calls it something different.

    This is endlessly aggravating and renders more or less all mainstream streaming music services useless. It's also not going to be fixed, because the people who run the services and the databases they rely on don't give a shit what classical music people want.

    Services that cater to classical music fans on the other hand are incredibly expensive and will pretty much never have the support of mainstream devices, so we're left with our nerd options of maintaining a giant, self-organized library as a solitary pursuit or just giving up and accepting that everything sucks and is wrong.

  4. Dan Fein
    January 12, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    It's about time Spotify will fix their shuffle play. It doesn't really shuffle your Playlist. Spotify neglects hundreds of requests to fix it in their support forum. This is very disturbing.

  5. Erin
    January 12, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    I also use Google Play Music. I enjoy it a lot, especially since it also comes with YouTube Red. I also have tons of my own music uploaded to Google. I used the free version for a long while, but I got tired of the ads. Google Play Music also has a free 90-day trial. I'll be honest, I had every intention of cancelling after the free trial, but the lack of ads on Google Play Music and YouTube convinced me to pay for it. Plus, I like to listen to the music through my Chromecast.

  6. Dimitri
    January 12, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    You should mention that either Apple or Amazon doesn't support Chromecast, and it's a deal breaker for me.
    I personally use the new Napster app from Rhapsody and it's fantastic.
    Same 9.99$

  7. Mediamark
    January 12, 2017 at 4:31 am

    I recently stumbled upon Amazon Prime Music and so far am enjoying it. I had been using Pandora, which is blocked by my new employer's security settings.

  8. Aleks
    January 11, 2017 at 11:36 pm

    Google Play Music! Surprised it wasn't mentioned.

  9. Sheldon
    January 11, 2017 at 11:00 pm

    We use Spotify Premium and we absolutely love it. Fantastic selection, high quality sound and terrific playlist recommendations. No reason to switch.

  10. Ghazaros
    January 11, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    Get your facts right: apple music does have an android app, it just sucks.

  11. kringler
    January 11, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    I'm still shocked that Google Play Music isn't included in the article. It comes with YouTube Red, which is a nice bonus, is essentially the same price, has a free, nifty 3rd party desktop app, has a music selection that doesn't seem far off from Spotify, and I greatly, greatly enjoy it's playlists—far more than Spotify's.

    I tried Amazon's since I have Prime, but the whole user experience is truly dreadful.

  12. Matt Mauer
    January 11, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    Best one = Google Play music
    Reasoning: It does what the other ones do (all are roughly equal) but also has youtube red.
    How did this service get missed??

  13. Khai
    January 11, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    I use Google... but that seems to be invisible on here..

  14. Frank
    January 11, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    Spotify lists Rammstein. Amazon doesn't.

  15. Frank
    January 11, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    In Germany Spotify lists Rammstein. Not to be found on Amazon.

  16. Davin Peterson
    January 11, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    Hey, what about Google Play Music, which existed before Apple Music and can do the same things Apple Music can?

  17. Gary
    January 11, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    Since I have Prime I started using the basic Amazon music. Previously used Pandora and podcasts. I switched to the new Amazon music unlimited recently when they were offering the $20 credit and free month. Get a lot more music that I could not get before. I prefer to download all to my SD card rather than stream. This way, my entire family(up to 10 devices) can use the service, since only one device is allowed to stream at a time.

    Is this the best service? Maybe, maybe not. It suits my needs and I already have it included anyhow and the extra $70? per year for more music isn't a big hit.

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