Amazon Launches Music Unlimited, an On-Demand Streaming Service Starting at $3.99/Month

Today via a press release, Amazon announced their anticipated new music streaming service called Music Unlimited. This service is meant to compete with the likes of Spotify and Apple Music, hence it’s $9.99/month price, but there’s more to the story than that. More on this in a bit…

For starters, Music Unlimited’s core functionality is very similar when compared to Spotify or Apple Music as it offers “tens of millions” of songs to listen to on-demand and without any ads. Users can access their music through the newly redesigned iOS, Android, and desktop apps (both online and offline thanks to the option to download music), while a recommendations engine, hand-picked and algorithmic playlists, and personalized stations are all present. All in all, this service is really similar to other music streaming platforms already available, but what really differentiates itself from the rest is the pricing.

For a standard user, $9.99/month is what you’ll pay. If you’re a member of Amazon Prime, you’ll be eligible for a discounted $7.99/month price. And for strong Echo users, Amazon will offer you the service for just $3.99/month. However, this does come with one major catch…

Starting off with the level of integration, Music Unlimited and Alexa are highly intertwined with each other, making the music service functional through various voice commands. By saying, “Alexa, play music,” Alexa will begin playing a type of music she think’s you’ll like. By saying, “Alexa, play ’80s rock,” Alexa will choose popular songs from that time and genre. By saying, “Alexa, play happy music,” Alexa will play cheerful jams (theoretically “CAN’T STOP THE FEELING!” by Justin Timberlake or, “Happy” by Pharrel). You get the picture.

There’s also this unique feature called Side-by-Sides. By saying, “Alexa, play Side-by-Side with OneRepublic,” lead singer Ryan Tedder will begin commenting on the music you’re listening to and provide fun facts about the story and work behind it. No other platform has a feature such as this one, so it looks like Amazon will be depending on it for the long run to make themselves stand out. And P.S., Side-by-Sides also work without Alexa.

By now, you’re probably thinking that Amazon Music Unlimited and Alexa are a great pair, right? And in fact, yes they are. So great a pair that if you do decide to opt in for the “for Echo” subscription for $3.99/month, you’ll only be able to listen to music through her.

That’s the catch.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to pay $3.99/month and listen to Music Unlimited on your iOS or Android device. In fact, it won’t even work on the Fire tablet. Only Amazon Echo will be able to access music through your subscription. That’s why I recommend the $7.99/ or $9.99/month options as they give you access to music on Echo, iOS, Android, Fire, and desktop. Of course, maybe your only device is an Echo, which, in that case, just go for the $3.99/month option. Otherwise, you’re very limited in access to your jams.

It’s worth noting that Amazon is also working on a “For Family” plan for $14.99/month, the same price both Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play Music charge for a group of 6. This option should be available this December. You can also subscribe to the service for $79/year (about $6.58/month). Right now, Music Unlimited is (ironically) limited to the US, but it’ll make it’s way to the U.K., Germany and Austria some time this year.

A free 30-day trial of Music Unlimited is being offered by Amazon which can be claimed here.