Amazon Launches New Spotify Competitor With Ad-Supported Music Streaming for Echo Devices

Photo: Gizmodo

Following rumors earlier this week that such a service was forthcoming, Amazon has officially announced its spanking new ad-supported music streaming service—not to be confused with its other two music services—for Alexa-enabled devices.

The service made its debut Thursday amid a few other updates from the company (including, notably, an apparent truce with Google). The streaming service bills itself as the free alternative for folks who do have an Alexa-enabled device but don’t have either a Prime membership (and therefore access to Prime Music) or a subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited, its other Spotify competitor.

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As of today, Amazon says Echo device owners can ask Alexa to pull up an artist station, genre, or playlist, and the voice assistant will cue up the ad-supported service. According to TechCrunch, Amazon’s free service shares its library with Prime Music, which boasts roughly 2 million songs. Amazon Music Unlimited, by contrast, has a catalog of more than 50 million songs.

The service is a benefit to both Echo owners without access to Amazon’s paid music services as well as, of course, to the company. As TechCrunch noted, an ad-supported streaming service linked to its Alexa-enabled devices opens up new revenue opportunities—and surely, if any company needs more of our money, it’s Amazon.

Billboard broke the news last week that Amazon’s free-tier Spotify competitor was just around the corner. In order to secure licenses for free music, the report said, the company “offered to initially pay some record labels per stream, regardless of how much advertising Amazon sells.”

Separately, Amazon on Thursday also announced that it had made nice with Google and will again offer YouTube on Fire TV, while Amazon Prime Video will return to Chromecast devices. Of course, there are some caveats. But this is Amazon we’re talking about, after all. What’d you expect?

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