Amazon is launching its on-demand music streaming service, Amazon Unlimited Music, in the UK. The service was unveiled in the US last month, and offers 40 million tracks, Android and iOS mobile apps, and both handpicked and algorithmically generated playlists. But, it's not to be confused with Prime Music — a comparatively limited music streaming service that Amazon bundles in for free with a Prime yearly subscription.
In the UK, Amazon Unlimited Music will cost £9.99 a month for non-Prime members or £7.99 a month / £79 a year (that's £6.58 a month) for those that are subscribed to Prime. (Spotify, by comparison, charges £9.99 a month in the UK.) There’s also a deal where you can get access to Unlimited Music on just a single Echo or Echo Dot for £3.99 a month. To be clear, that means you can't use the service on phones, tablets, or PCs, but you get the same music catalog from your Echo speaker at a cheaper monthly cost.
Amazon is hoping tight integration with Echo and Alexa will be a big selling point for Unlimited Music. After all, Spotify has its brilliant music recommendations and Apple has its big-name exclusives; Amazon Unlimited Music has to have a stand-out feature of some sort, and that appears to be better support for Alexa. Using an Echo, you can ask for a band’s latest track, for example, or for music from a specific time period ("Alexa, play David Bowie from the '70s"). Combined with the cheap Echo-only subscription, this might make Amazon Unlimited Music a great choice for some households, but it's not clear how Amazon will compete with more established services.