Amazon is planning to launch its long-rumored on-demand music service, which will compete with Spotify and Apple Music, by the beginning of next year, according to a source close to the situation. The company will also launch its Echo-based music service, which will cost $5 a month, within the next few weeks, according to a source. That service will allow Echo owners to access Amazon's music library on-demand just like the more expensive offering, but playback will be restricted to the smart assistant. Amazon has been working to get a deal done with the music labels for some time now, — both services are being negotiated together — but talks have dragged on for weeks.
The on-demand service may be called Amazon Music Unlimited, according to a report from AFTVnews, which spotted the name and a logo (pictured above) in the code of Amazon's new music app for the Fire TV. It will work much in the same way Spotify and Apple Music operate, $10 a month for complete access to a library of millions of songs. (The new music service won't come with your Amazon Prime subscription, so get ready to shell out more money on top of that $99 a year subscription.)
The negotiations between Amazon and the music labels are far less contentious than the current (and nearly stagnant) talks with Spotify, with sources saying the deal is largely in place. Amazon, of course, would like to launch its on-demand service as soon as possible to take advantage of the holiday traffic, and that's still a strong possibility. "If [Amazon] wants to get the deals done they can get them done quickly," one source noted.
The big question now is whether Amazon can turn its upcoming streaming services into legit competitors with Spotify and Apple Music. Amazon has the user base and credit cards on file, but it's coming into a new industry at the same time as Pandora, another company with a dedicated group of users. With rumors of industry leader Spotify acquiring SoundCloud to cement its foothold (a source says that deal isn't as close as initial reports made it out to be, but it is on the table).
With Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon all offering music streaming services, that leaves Facebook as the sole holdout of the big five tech companies. The next question is how long will that last?
We've reached out to Amazon for comment.