Amazon’s Prime Music has, through its inclusion in the broader Prime membership, quietly become one of the most popular music-streaming services in the world. Now Amazon is planning to launch a standalone version, including a cut-price subscription option for owners of Amazon’s Echo connected-speaker.
Rumours of the service have been bubbling for some time: back in January, there were reports of Amazon holding licensing talks with music rightsholders for a standalone service. Over the weekend, Reuters reported that those plans have progressed: the $9.99 service will “likely be launched in late summer or early fall” with a “competitive catalogue of songs” to rivals.
Another $9.99-a-month streaming service may not be cause for wild celebrations, but plans to cut its price for owners (or new buyers) of Amazon’s Echo speaker are more interesting. We’ve been hearing rumours that ‘Project Purple’ (as one source described it to us) would see Echo owners pay $2-$3 a month to access the service from just that speaker.
Billboard has now backed that up, albeit at a slightly higher price: Echo ownership “would bring pricing down to $3 to $5 monthly – but listening would be limited to that Echo device”. There appears to be some confusion about exactly how far along the licensing road major labels are with Amazon for the new service, however.
This would be the second Prime service to be launched as a standalone product, following Prime Video’s debut as an $8.99-a-month service in April. The Echo could be a strong selling point for Prime Music: that same month, one research firm estimated that Amazon had sold 3m of its speakers, which are only available in the US so far.
The $9.99 option would surely be the upgrade for Echo owners who also wanted smartphone access to the music service.