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Amazon wants to blow Spotify out of the water with a $5/month music streaming service

Published Aug 23rd, 2016 9:33AM EDT
Amazon Music Streaming Service
Image: Amazon

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A rumored streaming service from Amazon could potentially give services like Spotify and Apple Music a run for their money. According to a report from Recode, Amazon has plans to roll out two brand new streaming services as early as September. While one service would effectively be similar to what’s already available — unlimited on-demand streaming for $10/month — the other has the potential to be a real game changer.

Citing sources purportedly familiar with Amazon’s plans, the online retail giant is prepping a music service that would drastically undercut Spotify and Apple Music. If you thought $10 for all you can eat streaming was a great deal, how does $4 or $5 sound?

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It sounds delightfully crazy, but Jeff Bezos and co. haven’t gotten to where they are now by making boneheaded business decisions, save for the ill-fated Fire Phone. The catch is that Amazon’s more affordable streaming service would only be available to Amazon Echo owners. Interestingly, this strategy closely resembles what Apple tried and failed to do with Apple Music — reduce the monthly subscription price in an effort to drive hardware sales.

The lower-priced service would represent a novel approach. Other services have tried, without success, to offer subscriptions in the $5 range. But those have usually been variants of web radio services, which don’t let users play any song they want, whenever they want.

Amazon’s discount service would be different, industry sources say, because it would work like Spotify or Apple Music — unlimited, ad-free music on demand — but it would be constrained to Amazon’s Echo player, and wouldn’t work on phones.

The underlying question here is if Amazon can convince record labels to hop on board. If you recall, Apple famously encountered heavy resistance when it tried to price Apple Music in the $7-$8 range, which makes Amazon’s goal to cut the typical streaming rate in half all the more intriguing.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.