Online bookseller Amazon has launched a full-fledged music streaming service with subscriptions as low as $3.99 per month for owners of its Amazon Echo speaker.
The move could start a price war after years of the industry sticking to $9.99 subscriptions.
The new streaming service, called “Amazon Music Unlimited,” lets users access songs on demand, similar to Spotify and Apple Music. Subscriptions to play music on the Echo cost $3.99 per month. If you dont want to use Echo it will set you back $7.99 a month for Prime members and $9.99 for non-members.
Amazon will continue to offer Prime members a limited streaming service for free.
The Echo has become a surprise hit, prompting many to predict that voice will become a key way users interact with technology – and music is central to the device’s appeal.
Amazon has built an elaborate system of voice controls for listening on the Echo. Steve Boom [no really. ed], vice president of Amazon Music told Reuters that the outfit thinks smart home devices will be a key source of growth for the music industry.
“The first phase of growth (in music streaming) was driven almost entirely by smartphone. We believe pretty strongly that the next phase of growth in streaming is going to come from the home.”
What though is a little different is the low price for Amazon’s streaming service. The price is consistent with the company’s reputation for undercutting the competition and signals the music industry is beginning to accommodate consumers who are unwilling to pay $9.99 per month.