Amazon has launched its total-package music streaming service, Amazon Music Unlimited, in the U.K. Arriving first in the U.S. in October, Music Unlimited boasts "over 40 million songs" -- a major upgrade over Prime Music, basically Amazon Music Limited, with its 2 million-or-so tracks bundled with Prime yearly subscriptions.
Amazon Music Unlimited costs £9.99/month, the same as streaming leaders Spotify, Apple Music and others. Where it differs from its market competitors are the two discount tiers that Amazon offers. For those who subscribe to Prime, the price is £7.99/month, or £79/year, but the bill is even lower for owners of Amazon's Echo smart speakers. If you're someone who says "Hey, Alexa" a lot, you can get unlimited music for £3.99/month, or £48/year. The only catch is that the Echo-related subscription is for a single device, meaning that price doesn't cover the mobile app or desktop.
An Echo speaker costs £150, so pairing that with a yearly music subscription will cost you about £200. A smaller version of the smart speaker, Echo Dot, runs only £50, bringing your first year tally to just shy of £100.
The company has not been shy about linking its new on-demand music streaming service closely with Echo and Alexa. Amazon's head of music Steve Boom told Billboard last month that they wanted to "double down" on their investment in home-based voice technology. "There's a reason we're focused on the voice experience -- we believe music streaming is entering a new phase," Boom said. "Historically, it's been driven mostly by smartphones, but we believe quite strongly that there's a new phase of growth coming for the music industry, and that's connected smart devices. We wanted to really double down on our investment in voice and extend Amazon's lead in the home."
Amazon has also redesigned its app for iOS and Android. "Key features of the app include 'Home,' which showcases selections by Amazon Music editors to help customers stay up-to-date on the music they love and what's trending and popular; 'Recommended,' where customers can find personalised music suggestions powered by Amazon's recommendation technology; and 'Now Playing,' where synchronized lyrics make it easy to follow along to your favourite music."
In addition to launching in the U.K., Amazon Music Unlimited has also been ruled out in Germany and Austria. Pricing is the same as in the U.K., but in euros.