Amazon Adds Music Streaming For Prime Members

Amazon has announced the launch of a new music streaming service for customers with Alexa.

“Customers in the U.S. who do not yet have a Prime membership or a subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited will now be able to listen to an ad-supported selection of top playlists and stations for free with Amazon Music on compatible Alexa-enabled devices,” the eCommerce giant wrote in a blog post.

Those with Alexa now have access to play a station based on a song, artist, era or genre, and hear some of Amazon Music’s top global playlists. For now, the launch only includes U.S. customers with an Alexa-enabled device. Amazon already offers its Prime Music service as part of its Prime subscription at $119 per year, as well as its Amazon Music Unlimited subscription for $9.99 per month (or $7.99 per month for Prime members).

The news earlier this week that Amazon was planning to launch the service caused Spotify shares to fall 4 percent on Monday (April 15). However, after today’s (April 19) official announcement, Spotify shares were up 1.3 percent.

The music streaming service is still facing stiff competition, though. Earlier this month, Apple Music surpassed Spotify in the number of paid subscribers it has in the United States — Apple Music had 28 million paid subscribers to Spotify’s 26 million as of February. Apple Music also has a growth rate of 2.6 percent to 3 percent, compared to Spotify’s monthly rate of about 1.5 percent to 2 percent.

Spotify filed an antitrust complaint against Apple over what it called abusive control of the App Store, and claimed that Apple uses the store to its own advantage.

Horacio Gutierrez, Spotify’s general counsel, said, “Apps should compete on merits, not who owns the App Store,” adding that “once Apple became not only a platform provider, but also a direct competitor, their incentive to disadvantage rival services like Spotify became even greater, and their restrictions started to become more frequent and extreme.”