As if we didn’t already have enough music streaming services, now Amazon has thrown its hat into the ring with the launch of its Prime Music service here in the UK.
While it’s been available in the US since last June, UK Amazon Prime members can now enjoy it’s music library. Prime Music will provide access to more than one million songs from leading artists including One Direction, Foo Fighters, Justin Timberlake, David Bowie, Pitbull and many others. Prime Music also offers hundreds of curated playlists to cater for every mood.
There’s also the Amazon Music app which allows you to enjoy the service on the go. It’s available on Android tablets and smartphones, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, PC and Mac and is fully integrated into the Kindle Fire.
For those that decided to fork out £79 to become a Prime member, Amazon Prime Music is a nice little addition to the service, which already offers unlimited next day delivery, instant video, cloud storage for photos and a lending library for Kindle users. However, as it stands now, Amazon Prime Music is no threat to the streaming powerhouses like Spotify, Google Play Music, Apple Music and Deezer.
According to Steve Bernstein, Amazon’s director of music for the EU, Amazon Prime’s US user base surpassed all rivals combined, including Deezer, Rdio, Rhapsody and Google Music.
While that may be true, Amazon Prime Music’s library consists merely of one million songs, while other services can provide access to around thirty million songs as well as higher quality sound and better discovery features. Google Play Music also allows users to download their music to an SD card rather than take up your mobile device’s internal storage.
We had a go on Amazon’s Music app and while it was perfectly functional, it has a few annoying problems. You cannot, for example, search for music by artist which we found to be very strange. Also when you’re trying to discover new music, any recommendations the app brings you are albums or songs you have to pay for and not included in the Prime Music library.
Functional though not without a few annoying niggles
Another problem that Amazon Prime Music faces is that no artists on the Universal Music label are currently available through their service. Universal, who accounts for around a third of the global music talent, represents artists such as Eminem, Kanye West, Katy Perry, Amy Winehouse, Abba and many others. That’s a serious gap in Amazon’s catalogue as well as a huge drawback for those thinking of switching services. The New York Times suggested that this could be due to Universal holding out over royalty payments.
Amazon has no chance of competing with the established big boys in the music streaming space. As we’ve seen with Tidal, who launched with the backing of music’s glitterati, it’s not easy starting up in an already crowded market.
However, Amazon have stated that they’re not interested in what others are doing and instead looking to undercut their competitors, whose members spend around £120 per year on streaming music. The head of music for Amazon UK Paul Firth said that the ‘best music streaming service is the one you already have.” If you’re already an Amazon Prime member, it’s a nice little add-on. If not, it’s another carrot to dangle in front of people who are considering spending £79 to experience the full benefits of Prime membership.