Amazon Entertainment

How Amazon (Technically) Won Music Streaming

There has been a lot of attention paid to who will win the digital music wars over streaming. The two most watched competitors in that arena are Spotify (the reigning champ) and Apple (the rapidly rising power player).

However, often overlooked, and not for entirely bad reasons, is Amazon Music. Which as it turns out might be a mistake, since technically of the three services it is the most successful if number of users is a metric.

Some of this is of course a mathematical trick. Apple Music and Spotify are a la carte services that cost around $10 a month. Amazon Music, on the other hand, comes part and parcel with Amazon’s Prime program. It’s not the central draw for most users — the free shipping and late the video streaming are a lot more meaningful to the bottom-line attractiveness of the service — but anyone who has Prime is technically an Amazon Music customer. Since Amazon is estimated to have in the neighborhood of 50 million-55 million Prime customers in the U.S., Amazon has at least twice the subscriber base of Spotify, five times that of Apple and 50 times that of Tidal.

And Amazon Prime is growing, and though Amazon lacks a standalone music service with premium access to new content, some analysts are predicting such an offering could be coming down the pipe shortly. What remains to be seen is if such an investment matters for Amazon. There are already very large and competitive players in the streaming market, and Amazon might be better served to sit back and offer music on-demand on a more limited basis but with the side benefit of a popular program to bolster its continued popularity.

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