When Amazon.com announced it was raising the price of an annual Prime membership from $79 to $99 back in March, many wondered whether the e-tailer would lose large numbers of subscribers as result. While that question has not yet been answered, Amazon has given members another reason to stay put with Prime Music — a new ad-free streaming music service that comes at no additional cost with their membership.
"When Prime launched nine years ago, the program offered Free Two-Day Shipping on one million items," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, in a statement. "Today, that selection has grown to over 20 million items. Prime Instant Video now offers unlimited streaming of more than 40,000 movies and TV episodes, up from 5,000 at launch three years ago. And the Kindle Owners' Lending Library now features more than half a million books to borrow for free.
"Today we're introducing Prime Music — more than a million songs from some of music's best artists, plus hundreds of expert-programmed Prime Playlists, all at no additional cost. Prime Music is the latest great addition for Prime members and we think they're going to love it."
While other streaming music services such as Spotify, Pandora and Beats Music (owned by Apple) promote new releases, Amazon is going to wait several months after music has debuted before adding it to the service, reports Bloomberg News.
One snag in the announcement for Amazon is the news that Universal Music Group, which includes artists Kanye West and Lady Gaga, is not yet participating in the program. According to reports, the label was not satisfied with the lump sum Amazon offered for access to its catalog.
Amazon Prime members can listen to the service today at www.primemusic.com. Eligible customers who are not already Prime members can try Prime Music with a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime by visiting www.amazon.com/prime.
Will Amazon's Prime Music be more important for keeping existing subscribers or attracting new ones?