Amazon to Launch Echo-based Music Streaming Service Soon, Full Version in Early 2017

New music streaming service called Amazon Music Unlimited

Amazon is developing yet another paid product along the lines of its current, fairly rudimentary, free music service for Amazon Prime members. We reported the possibility of this a few months ago, but The Verge now has reliable information about two separate launches, one specifically for Amazon Echo devices and another full-service music streaming option called Amazon Music Unlimited.

According to sources in the know, the first part of the service will be rolled out to owners of Amazon Echo in the next few weeks and will cost an additional $5 a month. It will be restricted to asking the Echo’s voice-based AI assistant Alexa to play from the available collection of songs. The second launch, expected to happen in early 2017, will expand the service as a standalone one for $10 a month that will be available on any device, similar to a Spotify subscription.

Talks are still on with music labels to include their collections, and at this point we don’t have any numbers to go by. However, the collection is bound to be much larger than what they currently offer Amazon Prime members via Prime Music.

The Verge says it’s likely that Amazon will expedite the on-demand music service for Echo users in time for the holiday season, but the real question is whether the full-service Amazon Music Unlimited can actually compete with Apple Music, Spotify and other companies like Pandora.

Of course, Amazon can easily leverage its own user base and push the service out to a large number of people, but many of them are likely to already be on one of the other services. Besides, if Spotify does, in fact acquire SoundCloud this time around, that will give it a huge lead over all the other music streaming services. Truth be told, this isn’t really the best time for Amazon to be launching a standalone music service. On the other hand, if they don’t do it now they’re probably never be able to get it off the ground in a significant way.

The challenge will be to get users to switch from other service because, at $10 a month, there’s really no price advantage for Amazon.

As such, the success of Amazon Music Unlimited will rely heavily on what labels they’re able to bring on board. In the meantime, we’ll keep you posted on new developments in Amazon’s push into the music streaming business.

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