The summer of 1994 saw the creation of a company that has largely changed the way we shop, read, give gifts, and even view media. Amazon.com, founded by Jeff Bezos, started out as a mere resource for buying books. Based out of Seattle, Washington, the website filled orders for people in 50 states and 45 countries-all in its first 30 days of doing business! And today, it is run by more than 97,000 employees.
Needless to say, Amazon became popular fast. And it has only grown tremendously since then.
Over the years, Amazon has continued to cover more ground and in September 2007 began including music services, such as buying and downloading tracks. Music streaming, however, didn't become an Amazon service until June 2014.
In other words, Amazon streaming is very new but still very convenient for certain consumers.
If you have an Amazon Prime account, or if you're thinking of getting one, listen up. Prime Music, as they call it, is now available for all Amazon Prime members in the United States-at no additional cost to your membership!
If you already hold an Amazon Prime account, the awesome news is that you pay no additional fees to stream their music. As a member, you immediately have access to over one million tracks and hundreds of playlists. What's more, Amazon streaming is ad-free, which means there are no interruptions to your listening experience.
But that's not all.
You'd think that since Prime Music comes with no extra fees that it would come without many perks. On the contrary, you can:
- Handpick the songs you want to listen to (rather than being fed automatic tracks)
- Skip or repeat songs as often as you want
- Download tracks and listen to them offline without an Internet connection
- Create playlists of songs that you've downloaded
Not bad at all!
Amazon streaming also works with a wide variety of mediums, including Android, Windows, iOS, Roku, Sonos, and the Web. You can stream from devices like a Fire Phone, iPhone, iPad, Fire Tablet, Fire TV, Mac, PC, and even your car. They offer a free music app you can download too. But do be aware that Amazon apps work through the Amazon Cloud Player, which you'll have to download to use.
If you're unsure about Prime Music, you'll love the length of their free trial period. For one month, Amazon lets you preview what it's like to stream with them-in the hopes that you'll love what you experience and sign up for that Prime account.
Probably the biggest downside to Prime Music is that you're required to have an Amazon Prime account in order to stream it. So even though there's technically no additional cost for streaming as a Prime member, you're also already paying the $99 fee per year (or $49 if you're a student) for the account. That means no free version is available in any sense of the term.
Prime Music is also currently available in only the United States. While Amazon ships products across many countries around the world, the site hasn't linked music streaming to other countries, so if you're traveling or moving out of the US, you'll no longer have access to it.
Furthermore, Amazon's music selection is pretty small compared to most competitors. One million songs sounds like a lot, but when other companies boasts 10, 20, or 30 million+ songs, Amazon's library starts to look like slim pickings. Along with this, they typically don't offer the most recent songs, so you can't expect to stream new releases through it.
Another obvious con for Amazon is the fact that they've only offered streaming since mid-2014. That's not very much time to work out software errors, add tracks to the music library, and rectify other issues that inevitably pop up in the first few months (or years) of opening up shop. And while some competitors have been streaming music for more than 10 years, Amazon is still quite young and inexperienced, at least in this department.
The Bottom Line
What makes Amazon music different is that it's directly linked to Amazon Prime, which has a very large customer base already. Unlike other streaming services, Prime Music is a service that comes with a membership that offers loads of other benefits, such as video streaming and discounts on mail orders. In this way, Amazon.com has set itself up to potentially gain a lot of streaming customers fast.
They also stand out because they take features like offline listening, unlimited skips, and on-demand listening and put them all into one streaming service.
What does this mean for you?
It means that if you're an Amazon Prime member, you're in luck. You'll automatically enjoy great streaming services, albeit with a smaller music library and a slightly lower bit rate (256 kbps). And if you're not a Prime member, here's just one more reason you might consider signing up. Essentially, Amazon has rewarded current Prime members, enticed music lovers to join, and set itself apart from the more accessible and less expensive competitors.
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