Amazon Prime Music has officially landed in the UK, just over a year since the service became available in the US.
The UK launch of the service comes as competition continues to grow in the music streaming space, with Spotify, Google Play Music, Apple Music and Tidal just some of the big names; each vying for the largest slice of the music streaming pie.
Unlike other services in the space however, Amazon is not trying to become the dominant music streaming service – instead the company is using Prime Music as a way to get more people to subscribe to the company’s annual Prime subscription service.
Prime costs users £79 a year and includes everything from free next day delivery, to movie and TV streaming, to e-book lending and photo storage. Prime Music is just another benefit of this already popular service.
Amazon claims that the number of users subscribing to Prime is more than the combined totals of Tidal, Deezer, Rdio, Rhapsody and Google Play, although not that of Spotify which boasts 60 million users worldwide.
Despite having millions of subscribers, Prime Music will not be able to go toe to toe with the likes of Spotify or Apple Music in terms of catalogue size; with Amazon having just one million tracks available for streaming, compared to its competitors’ ‘over 30 million’.
Not only does the music service lack as many songs however, Prime Music also suffers from the lack of big name artists from the world’s largest record label – Universal Music Group.
When the service launched in the US last June, Amazon and Universal couldn’t come to an agreement over price; forcing Amazon to launch the service without any music from artists such as Katy Perry, Taylor Swift or Kanye West.
Amazon’s music service is not meant to have 30 million tracks however, as explained by the company’s director of digital music services in Europe, Steve Bernstein.
“We’re not trying to go head to head with Spotify or Apple,” he explains. “We’re trying to be the only one to offer all forms of music from discs, downloads and streaming, all in one place.”
A unique feature of Amazon’s service is the fact that any songs or albums previously bought from the retailer, even if they were physical CDs, can be streamed directly from the Amazon Music App or website, regardless of whether or not they’re available on Prime Music.
“We have lots of customers for which spending £120 a year on a music subscription service is too much,” says Paul Firth, head of music from Amazon. “The best music streaming service is the one you already have.”