Joining a crowded streaming music scene that already contains Rhapsody, Pandora, Spotify, Apple and Samsung, Amazon unveiled Amazon Prime Music in the US. Prime Music provides access to more than one million songs to all Amazon Prime members, at no extra cost.
Key Prime Music features include:
· Access to over a million songs delivered ad-free
· Hundreds of expert-programmed Prime Playlists
· Prime members can download music to their phone or tablet to listen offline
· Amazon will use previous purchase behavior to recommend songs to customers
According to Amazon, Prime members in the U.S. can start listening to Prime Music immediately at www.primemusic.com. Kindle Fire HD/HDX devices will get Prime Music in an automatic, over-the-air update while mobile phone users can download the latest Amazon Music app from the Android and iTunes appstores.
Prime Music does, however, have a few warts. Specifically, it has fewer songs than services like Spotify or Rhapsody, and at least at the moment due to a disagreement over royalty payment, has no deal with top-ranked Universal Music Group. That means that popular stars such as Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and Jay-Z are not available on Prime Music.
This move is indicative of the rise in popularity of streaming and the decline of digital downloads. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), U.S. sales of downloaded songs slipped 1% last year to $2.8 billion while streaming music revenue grew 39% to $1.4 billion.
Amazon is developing a very robust on-demand service, spanning multiple media formats that offer much more than the competition. For a $99 annual subscription fee, Prime members have access to:
· Free two-day shipping on eligible items to addresses in the contiguous U.S.
· Unlimited streaming of movies and TV episodes, including five new kids and five new comedy/drama pilots for members in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
· Unlimited, ad-free access to Prime Playlists and more than a million songs for members in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
· The ability to borrow from over 500,000 from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library.
· Early access for members in the U.S. to download a new book for free every month from the Kindle First picks.
· Access to Prime Pantry, where members can purchase and ship to addresses in the contiguous U.S. low priced grocery, household and pet care items for a flat delivery fee of $5.99 for each Prime Pantry box.
Making Prime more attractive to Amazon users is in Amazon’s best interests. According to Morningstar, “Prime members spend “approximately twice as much" as their non-Prime counterparts each year, shop more frequently and buy pricier items.”
In addition, Amazon offers the Kindle Fire HD/HDX tablet and Kindle Fire streaming media player. The only thing missing from their device portfolio is a phone? Wait, doesn’t Amazon have a big press event scheduled for June 18th……..?