When it comes to music streaming, Amazon Prime Music has always been a long way behind Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora. But Amazon is never content to see you handing your money to someone else, so the company has released a paid music product called Amazon Music Unlimited.
How is it different from Prime Music? How much will it cost you? What will your money get you? Let us answer all of these questions and more.
What’s the Difference Between the Two?
The most notable difference — and the one that will get people to pay for Amazon Music Unlimited — is the number of songs available. Prime Music gives you access to around two million songs. This sounds like a lot, but pales into insignificance when compared to Spotify’s 30 million songs. However, Music Unlimited provides “tens of millions” of songs.
Like other streaming services, Music Unlimited provides unlimited skips and the ability to download songs to the app for offline listening. These features are also offered by Prime Music, but the availability of exponentially more songs makes them even more valuable.
What Does Music Unlimited Cost?
After a 30-day free trial, the most affordable Music Unlimited plan is $3.99, but don’t get too excited just yet. That plan will only let you use Music Unlimited on your Amazon Echo, Dot, or Tap. If don’t have a smart Amazon device, or if you also want to listen elsewhere, you’re out of luck. You’ll need to pay the standard $7.99 monthly fee, or $79 for a year, on top of your annual Prime fees. Up to six family members can be on the same plan for $14.99 per month, or $149 for a year.
Non-Prime members can also get an individual plan for $10 per month, the same price as Spotify and Apple Music. If you’re a Prime member, and already getting the most out of your other features, the $2 you’ll save each month will add up over time, so it might be worth considering Music Unlimited on that basis alone.
Of course, Prime Music is free for Amazon Prime members. So, if you’re currently making use of that option, upgrading to Music Unlimited is going to cost you. Is it worth spending an extra $100 per year? The answer to this question likely depends on whether you’re satisfied with the collection of music available on the free plan. (I, for one, am not.)
How Can You Listen to Music Unlimited?
Like Prime Music, you can access Music Unlimited through a web player or downloaded app. Amazon has Music Unlimited apps for just about every platform, from your iPhone to your car. At the time of this writing, neither the web player nor the Mac app have the polish of bigger-name streaming apps.
For example, I searched for Christian metal band Saving Grace in both clients, and no matching artists were displayed. However, the band’s album The Urgency (from 2014) was displayed in the Albums section of the search results (which was on the next screen down). When I clicked on it, I was able to find my way to the artist page, which included four albums and two singles. So why aren’t they displayed in the Artists section?
With that being said, both clients are fine — not great, but fine. It might take some work to find what you’re looking for, and you’ll need to put in a little more effort than you do in Spotify, but they work. Eventually.
What’s the Music Selection Like?
As you might expect, with tens of millions of songs available, the music selection is significantly better on Music Unlimited than it is on Amazon Prime Music. I always had trouble finding the metal and hardcore bands that I like on Prime Music, but most of them are present on Music Unlimited. So far, I’ve only encountered one that isn’t available. Even my favorite hometown rappers’ albums are available.
With tens of millions of songs, I wasn’t surprised to find pretty much everything I was looking for. The availability of your own favorites may differ, though. That’s one of the reasons you should check out the free trial before you sign up.
Is Music Unlimited Worth Paying For?
The big question in many people’s minds is whether or not Music Unlimited is worth paying for, especially when Prime Music is free for Prime members. Obviously, it very much depends on whether you’re happy with the two million songs currently offered by Prime Music. To be fair to Amazon, that’s a huge number of songs. Whether your musical tastes are well represented, however, will depend a great deal on which genres and artists you like.
If you have wide-ranging tastes, listen to a lot of music, or just aren’t satisfied with the selection offered by Prime Music, the $8 monthly fee to upgrade to Music Unlimited is probably worth it. Unless you already use, and are happy with, Spotify, Apple Music, or Google Play Music.
Whether you have upgraded or not, though, we want to hear what you think.
Do you consider Amazon Music Unlimited to be a good deal? Will you be paying for the privilege of streaming more tracks? Which plan will you be signing up for? Have you used Prime Music in the past? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below!