Amazon is Preparing to Launch Streaming Music Service: Sources

8204195250_f3b789b661_hIn 2011 Amazon launched Kindle Owner's Lending Library, an Amazon Prime benefit, and later the retailer expanded it into Kindle Unlimited. Now it looks like Amazon is about to do the same with Amazon Prime Music, which had originally launched in 2014.

Amazon is preparing to launch a standalone music streaming subscription service, placing it squarely in competition with rival offerings from Apple and Spotify, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

The service will be offered at $9.99 per month, in line with major rivals, and it will offer a competitive catalog of songs, the sources said. Amazon is finalizing licenses with labels for the service, which likely will be launched in late summer or early fall, the sources said.

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment about the new, full-fledged music plan. Although it will be a late entrant to the crowded streaming space, Amazon believes a comprehensive music service is important to its bid to be a one-stop shop for content and goods, the sources said.

The new music offering also is intended to increase the appeal of the Amazon Echo, its home speaker, which searches the Internet and orders products from the retailer with voice commands.

“A music service will further increase the daily interactions between Amazon and its customer base,” said former music executive Jay Samit when told about the company's plan.

The new Amazon effort will compete directly with Apple Music and Spotify, which boast more than 30 million songs. Apple launched its service last year in one of the highest profile signs that listeners wanted subscription services, rather than paying for individual songs or albums. The service also will diversify Amazon's subscription offerings and be another step away from a single, annual subscription. Amazon recently began allowing subscribers to Prime to pay monthly, for instance.

Silicon Valley titans such as Apple and Alphabet's Google have muscled into music streaming in recent years, aiming to weave themselves more tightly into their customers’ daily routines and drive device sales. Amazon similarly hopes its new service’s tight integration with the Echo will help it stand out and reinforce the speaker’s appeal, the sources said.

Released broadly last year, the Echo has become a surprise hit that rival Google is now seeking to emulate with a speaker of its own.

The move suggests that Amazon will increasingly offer basic media options through Prime while selling additional subscriptions for consumers who want to go deeper. The company recently launched a standalone video service.

The new music service is unlikely to steal many customers from Spotify, but it could pose a threat to other players, said David Pakman, a partner at Venrock who headed early Apple music efforts, when informed of the move.

The Amazon service, which he called "inevitable," “might take a little oxygen out of Apple’s potential pool of paying users,” he said.

(Reporting by Julia Love, editing by Peter Henderson and Cynthia Osterman)

image by CamEvans

About Nate Hoffelder (11591 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

3 Comments on Amazon is Preparing to Launch Streaming Music Service: Sources

  1. The next inevitable being Kindle Unlimited free with Prime.

    The only cost to Amazon would be the loss of subscription revenue from Prime members now paying the KU sub.

    The gains will be

    a) adding to the perceived value of Prime by throwing ina million free ebooks for those not yet convinced

    b) getting KU titles in front of the many Prime members who haven’t yet bought into ebooks

    and c) further funneling ebook buying away from Big 5 titles and towards Zon imprint and indie titles

    • That would make KU something like Amazon Prime Video, yes, but –

      Amazon is cutting back Amazon prime Video. It doesn’t have nearly the selection it used to, and instead is used as a teaser for subscriptions (Showtime/HBO/etc) and sales.

      And since Amazon already has that Prime teaser service in KOLL, there’s no reason for Amazon to expand KOLL.

  2. “Amazon Echo, its home speaker, which searches the Internet and orders products from the retailer with voice commands.”

    That is a very odd description of the Echo, which is most often used as a home automation interface.

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