Room for one more: Amazon enters music streaming industry

12 Oct 2016

Streaming music. Image: Syda Productions/Shutterstock

Step aside Apple Music, move away Spotify, no room here Deezer, YouTube Red and Pandora; Amazon wants in on the streaming music market.

Amazon launched its ‘music unlimited’ streaming platform today (12 October), adding a new layer to its popular Echo device and bringing yet another tech giant into the latest music market.

Amazon Music Unlimited

The “on-demand streaming service” has millions of songs in its portfolio, with a discounted monthly rate for Amazon Prime members.

While the full release was in the US, it will be available to users in the UK, Germany and Austria by the end of this year, in line with the markets where Amazon Echo is sold.

In the US, it’s charging $7.99 at the discounted rate, $9.99 for regular users and a special Echo-only rate of $3.99, which could well prove the most popular.

Although, popularity is a complex thing to measure and, given the crowded market space and as yet unprofitable streaming environment, how Amazon performs in future is anyone’s guess.

Spotify, valued at over $8bn, wants to buy SoundCloud as it battles with Apple, YouTube and now Amazon for superiority in this space.

Despite revenues in excess of €2bn in 2015, Spotify lost €173m. At the time, it seemed profitability was going to be forever out of reach for the music streaming industry, though a spike in paid subscribers this year may have changed this.

Elsewhere, the wheels on Tidal’s A-list wagon are wobbling after its losses surged to $28m in 2015, according to The Wall Street Journal – around triple the streaming service’s 2014 loss.

Today, however, it’s all about Amazon, with the streaming service “combining the simplicity and magic of natural language voice control” with millions of hours of music, powered by Amazon’s AI Alexa.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic