Amazon Launches Prime Music Streaming Service

The speculation can stop. Amazon’s AMZN Prime Music streaming service has launched. The service is available at no additional charge to Amazon Prime members who pay $99 a year for unlimited two-day shopping, streaming videos and digital books from an in-house lending library.

Offered are more than one million songs, including thousands of albums from top name popular performers like Bruno Mars, Billy Joel, Pink and more.

What started out as a subscription shipping service has grown significantly over the past nine years. As with streaming movies and television shows, Prime Music doesn’t include all available music on Amazon. Prime Music falls under Amazon’s Digital Music caption where customers can purchase downloads of up to 25 million individual music tracks.

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Prime Music allows listeners to create their own playlists, receive personalized suggestions, and download tracks to mobile devices to listen offline. There is no social networking component so far and the service does not include a streaming radio service like Pandora P or Spotify.

The move makes Amazon a late arrival at a party well underway. Although Amazon’s vice president for digital music, Steve Boom, says "we want to go where our customers are going," the fact is, Google GOOGGOOGL and Apple AAPL have already gone there.

Still, Prime Music is attractive for a number of reasons. It will be ad-free and non-device specific. Whether customers listen on an Android or iOS phone or tablet, or even Amazon’s Kindle Fire device, doesn’t matter. The service also works on both PCs and Macs.

As for providers, both Sony SNE and Warner are signed on. So far, Universal Music is not.

All additions to Prime are part of a singular goal for Amazon – attracting and retaining customers. It’s all based on one simple reality - Prime members spend more on Amazon than non-members.

As Boom noted, "Ultimately we're creating lifelong relationships with our customers that makes them better customers of Amazon (who) use our services more frequently."

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Amazon raised the price of Prime subscriptions by 25 percent ($20) earlier this year. The addition of Prime Music was only one of several additions and upgrades Amazon rolled out to make the price increase seem more palatable.

In addition to constant upgrades to video offerings and negotiations with additional retailers, Amazon added Prime Pantry, which is designed to allow customers to order small quantities of staples and have them delivered for $5.99.

Meanwhile, according to The Wall Street Journal, major record companies are hoping Amazon’s new service would become more competitive to help generate more revenue in an industry that has suffered a downloading sales decline.

At the time of this writing, Jim Probasco had no position in any mentioned securities.

Posted In: AmazonAndroidAppleGoogleiOSPandoraSonySpotifyWall Street JournalTechMedia

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