Amazon dives into streaming music scene, challenging Apple and Spotify

Amazon's new music service is a direct shot at Apple and Spotify on Wednesday launched a full-fledged music streaming service with subscriptions as low as $3.99 per month for owners of its Amazon Echo speaker, accelerating the industry trend toward more flexible pricing after years of sticking to $9.99 subscriptions. The new streaming service, called "Amazon Music Unlimited," lets users access a vast catalog of songs on demand, similar to Spotify and Apple Music. Subscriptions to play music on the Echo cost $3.99 per month; for access beyond that device, subscriptions cost $7.99 a month for members of Amazon's Prime shipping and video service and $9.99 for nonmembers. Amazon will continue to offer Prime members a limited streaming service for free.

The first phase of growth [in music streaming] was driven almost entirely by smartphones. We believe pretty strongly that the next phase of growth in streaming is going to come from the home.

Steve Boom, vice president of Amazon Music

As it plunges deeper into the crowded streaming field, Amazon is counting on the Echo, a smart speaker that responds to voice commands, to set it apart. Released broadly last year, the Echo has become a surprise hit, prompting many to predict that voice will become a key way users interact with technology — and music is central to the device's appeal.

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Amazon’s music service launches with a secret weapon: Alexa

It’s cheaper than those big-name services—for many users, at least—and it features clever voice control with the company’s Echo speakers.

Amazon Music

Amazon Music(previously Amazon MP3) is an online music store and music locker operated by Launched in public beta on September 25, 2007, in January 2008 it became the first music store to sell music without digital rights management(DRM) from the four major music labels(EMI, Universal, Warner Music, and Sony BMG), as well as many independents.