Amazon Prime Music launches in UK

By James Cridland for
Posted 28 July 2015, 5.59am edt


Amazon today launched Amazon Prime Music, which gives existing Amazon Prime members access to over a million streaming music tracks for no extra charge.

The service - available on the Amazon website, and iOS, Android and Kindle apps - allows Prime users to stream or download individual tracks, full albums and playlists for free.

Additionally, if you buy CDs through Amazon, many of them (marked 'AutoRip') will automatically appear in your Amazon music player too. You can also upload songs to the Amazon Music service.

The service is ad-free, and available to all customers who've signed up to Amazon Prime - which also offers free video streaming, no shipping fees, an unlimited photo service, and free books for hardware Kindle ebook devices.

In our relatively quick test of the service so far, we found an old Pet Shop Boys album that we must have purchased from Amazon in the mists of time - don't judge - and a set of recommendations of free Prime albums to listen to including Suede, The Smiths, Blur and Supergrass. The service also included around 150 'relaxed and laid-back' playlists, including "Reading on the move" (instrumentals with a gentle pulse to help you concentrate), "Coffee shop jazz" and "Acoustic hangover cure"; and a further five categories of playlists. The user experience on the web is not brilliant, though it's better on mobile.

While the catalogue is small in comparison with other services - Spotify claim they have over thirty million tracks - Amazon Prime Music is included as a free extra to the Prime service. It's £79 a year, though you can get a 30-day free trial if you want to give it a go. Students get Prime for half price, apparently.

As ever, it's another demonstration that radio stations who simply sell themselves on music are in a fast-changing environment. Many industry observers say that radio needs to sell itself on personality and storytelling, rather than merely a music mix.

"Today we’re introducing Prime Music -- more than a million songs from bestselling artists, plus hundreds of Prime Playlists hand-built by our team of music experts -- all at no additional cost. Prime Music is the latest great addition for our UK Prime members and we think they’re going to love it," said Christopher North, Managing Director at Amazon UK, speaking to Wired magazine, and we bet he really said exactly that on the phone to them as part of a normal, natural conversation.

Amazon Prime Music's app is also available on the Amazon Fire Phone. "Yay," said nobody, ever.

Disclosure: links to Amazon in this article are, as you'd expect, affiliate links, and were you to spend thousands of pounds as a result of following them, we'd probably earn maybe enough to buy a pint. So please do that.

James Cridland — James runs, and is a radio futurologist: a consultant, writer and public speaker who concentrates on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on the radio business. He also publishes a free daily newsletter about podcasting, Podnews, and a weekly radio trends newsletter.


5 years, 9 months ago

Amazon and Google are going to end up being the anti-Christ of, well, everything else.

So we have another streaming service that is free(ish), whilst others you can subscribe to for the cost of a CD or two digital download albums each month - or if you don't mind DJ's speaking over songs and firing jingles, you can also subscribe to Apple's supposedly great new radio service (er..... I don't think so).

However, you look at it, music intensive radio, with all those mindless interruptions of station announcers (as opposed to personality presenters doing something interesting and compelling between the songs) is on a hiding.

I subscribe to Spotify, which has eroded into my radio listening time in the evenings and weekends., although I still listen to Radio 5 (a speech service) at Breakfast and Jeremy Vine at lunchtime (which also has high speech content).

Nowadays when I'm in the car on a daytrip to somewhere or even just driving home from work, do I select a music station? No, I'm either listening to a CD or I plug in one of my (now very many) memory sticks that contain over a thousand songs that have a playlist of particular styles of music that capture my mood at that particular moment. I do that because most music radio is not as interesting or as entertaining as it used to be .... so there's not much point in being tuned into a station that might play 5 songs in a row - but only one of those songs I actually like.

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