Here comes Prime Music, a free service for Amazon Prime subscribers with over a million songs available for streaming and cached download. Amazon Prime was already an amazing deal—perhaps the best in all of tech—and today, it's getting even better.
Like free two-day shipping and Prime Instant Video, Prime Music will be one of the services included with your $100 per year Prime membership. It'll work on your computer, through new Amazon Music apps on Android and iOS, and baked directly into the Music tab of the Kindle Fire HD and HDX. The old Cloud Player app for iOS and Android will now be consolidated with the new service. In addition to streaming music over Wi-Fi or a data connection, you'll be able to download the songs for playback when you're not connected.
Unlike Spotify or Beats Music, Prime Music won't aim to be an exhaustive catalog of songs, but rather just an attractive selection of stuff you might want to listen to. It'll be lacking some deep cuts, but that might not be the end of the world seeing as nobody listens to much of the music on services with 20 million-plus songs.
What will Amazon have? The company locked down 2 out of 3 major labels for its service (Warner and Sony but not Universal) as well as a handful of indies. In recent weeks we'd heard reports that the service would get new music six months after release, but according to Amazon's VP for Digital Music Steve Boom(!), the focus will be on popularity rather than street date. You won't necessarily find the latest hits the day they come out, but you'll find a lot of music that's in the Top 100. In a briefing earlier this week, Boom admitted that this characterization was a little nebulous, so we'll have to wait until the service rolls out today to see what's available and what's not. From a list provided by Amazon, there'll be a lot big names like Shakira, Beyonce, Alicia Keys, etc.
The service will also seek to integrate the music you already in a number of ways. Naturally Amazon will use the its massive trove of data to make recommendations for related music you might be interested it. On top of that, if you have one song by an artist in your Cloud Player, Amazon will help you add the rest of an album or catalog by that same artist to your collection with just a click. As with items in Amazon's video catalog, stuff that's available in Prime Music will be signaled with a little blue sash.
Amazon has also hired a team of music experts to curate a long list of playlists with both thematic and genre focus, including "Bollywood Lounge Grooves," "Pre-Party: R&B for Getting Glam," and "Road Tripping with the Kids." And maybe even one you want to listen to.
At this point, I've only seen a very brief demo of Prime Music in action, but the implementation seems very familiar to anyone who has used Amazon's other services. It's definitely not the most extensive music collection out there, but one million songs is a formidable catalog that will give a lot of people what they want from a music service without having to pay a cent more for their Amazon Prime.