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Amazon Music passes 55 million customers as it chips away at Spotify and Apple Music

Amazon Music passes 55 million customers as it chips away at Spotify and Apple Music


Amazon’s strategy is offering a plan for just about anyone

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Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

Amazon Music often doesn’t get the same buzz as Spotify or Apple Music, but the service is still growing rapidly and is catching up to those competitors at a rate that might surprise you. Amazon says its music service has now surpassed 55 million customers.

There’s still a long way to go if Amazon wants to catch Spotify, which most recently reported 113 million paying customers (and 248 million monthly users overall) back in September. Apple last cited an Apple Music subscriber count of over 60 million, so Amazon is quickly chipping away at that lead. “Amazon doesn’t talk numbers that much,” Amazon Music boss Steve Boom told the Financial Times. “We felt like getting to this level of scale was something worth talking about.”

That’s in large part because Amazon Music has one big factor in its favor: versatility. There are multiple rungs that make up Amazon Music, and the service gets to ride on the enormous popularity of Amazon’s Prime membership, which has become essential for many people. It’s also tightly integrated into the company’s Alexa voice assistant. Let’s take a look at the handful of choices you’ve got, from most expensive on down to free (with ads).

  • Amazon Music HD: The step-up audiophile upgrade to Amazon Music Unlimited launched last fall for $14.99 monthly ($12.99 if you’ve got Prime)
  • Amazon Music Unlimited: This is the true, proper Spotify and Apple Music rival and starts at the same $9.99-per-month price (or $7.99 for Prime subscribers). Amazon Music Unlimited subscriptions grew by over 50 percent in 2019, according to the company.
  • Amazon Music Unlimited (single-device plan): Maybe you lead a life of simplicity and only want to listen to music on the Amazon Echo in your living room. One of the more novel plans offered by Amazon is the single-device subscription, which can be used on supported Echo and Fire TV devices for only $3.99 each month. You still get the same 50 million song selection as regular Unlimited customers, but you’re just (very) restricted on where you can listen to them.
  • Amazon Music for Prime subscribers: Amazon Prime customers get on-demand, ad-free access to over 2 million songs through the Amazon Music service. There’s no added fee or subscription for this, apart from the regular Prime membership. It’s a nice perk if you’re not a picky listener and just want something without ads.
  • Ad-sponsored Amazon Music: If you’re not a Prime person and don’t want to pay for music, Amazon still has something for you. The free, ad-supported tier of Amazon Music gives you access to top playlists and thousands of music stations; you just lose the convenience of listening to any song you want on demand.

That’s five tiers, right there. And to reach its 55 million number, Amazon is tallying up the customers on all of them. International growth also appears to be strong. From Amazon’s news release:

Amazon Music has grown nearly 50% year-over-year across the US, UK, Germany, and Japan, and has more than doubled in our newer countries such as France, Italy, Spain, and Mexico.

Most of Amazon’s competitors have, at most, two plan options: free and paid. But as usual, Amazon is flooding the zone and hoping it can draw in every kind of music listener.