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Amazon's streaming radio service could have listening limits

Amazon's streaming radio service could have listening limits

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Amazon's streaming music service, which the company has been talking to record labels about for about a year, could come with listening limits when it launches. According to a new report in the Wall Street Journal, Amazon plans to intentionally limit how people stream certain tracks in order to push them towards making purchases in its MP3 store. Just what those limits are is currently unknown, but they'd represent a markedly different approach than rival paid subscription services, which offer users unlimited listening without advertisements in exchange for a monthly fee. It would also differ from free, ad-supported streaming services like Pandora, that typically limit how many times users can skip over songs each hour.

Limited time music to push you to the buy button

Amazon's streaming music service — which has not been announced — is said to be a free expansion of its Prime membership program, which began with free two-day shipping on some items, and later expanded to include movies and TV shows through its video streaming service, and a selection of free books that can be borrowed by Kindle owners. In January, the company told investors it was considering increasing the price of that $79 service by another $20 to $40 per year, citing higher shipping costs. Investors were keen to ask whether that would lead to additional Prime services, something the company deflected.

According to The Journal, no deals have been made between Amazon and the record labels and music publishers, though Amazon reportedly plans to spend some $20 million securing content. A separate report from Recode last month suggested those negotiations were getting more "serious," but that the parties were still at loggerheads over discounts Amazon wants on the pricing other streaming radio services are getting.