Amazon’s new free music-streaming tier could launch as early as today in the US and a few other key markets, according to the latest report on the company’s plans.

Billboard broke the original news about a new Amazon Music tier last week, but now MBW has followed up with its own label sources to confirm that it’s “imminent”. It suggested that the free tier will have the same limited catalogue (i.e. around 2m tracks) as Amazon Prime Music, with listeners able to shuffle music by certain artists, rather than request tracks on-demand. The report also suggested that two of the three major labels have already signed new licensing deals covering the free tier, with the third close to joining them.

“This is a very exciting development. The music industry seems to be in a good place with Amazon and Apple right now – but less so with Spotify,” said one of MBW’s label sources. Ouch, although as Spotify will doubtless be reminding labels privately, it accounted for 96 million (per its financials) of the 255 million music subscribers globally (per the IFPI) at the end of 2018 – so it has played a role in getting the industry into its current ‘good place’. But as we said earlier this week, Amazon’s new free tier *will* be a new competitive threat to Spotify.

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