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Amazon Music’s free members complain that its catalog of 100 million songs can only be shuffled

Remember Amazon’s announcement on Tuesday that Prime members would get free access to ad-free podcasts and a library of 100 million songs?

This forced Slashdot reader ayjaym to cancel his Amazon Prime subscription. Because despite the upgrade to 100 million tracks, “all of them – including albums that were available on Prime Music before – can only be played in random order!”

You also cannot skip forward or backward while a song is playing. And, if you enjoy listening to classical music, now you have the parody of having great works cut up and rearranged in random play order.
A headline from Inc. magazine points to Amazon’s shift”make everyone angry.”
“Hey Alexa, play Taylor Swift’s anti-hero,” was a simple thing you could say. When you did, your Echo would do just that. He would play the new Taylor Swift song as long as it was in the catalog of available songs. Now, however, that is not happening at all. If you’re lucky, Alexa will start playing songs from Midnights, Swift’s latest album. This, however, is not taken for granted. He could play some of his older songs. He might start playing songs by other artists instead. Why does Amazon think anyone wants this?

Here’s why: it’s cheaper for a streaming service to not let you choose the song you want, but to let you give it an input and start playing similar music. Also, because Amazon clearly sees Amazon Music as something you use in the background when you just want the music to play while you do other things… If what you want to do is listen Taylor Swift’s latest album, you’re going to have to choose Apple Music or Spotify Premium, both of which charge over $10 per month, or Amazon Music Unlimited, which costs $8.99 per month.

According to Amazon, 80% of people will never do this. They will never pay $10 a month to stream music. However, they will use a free streaming service even if it means giving up the possibility of actually choosing the song they want to listen to. Alright, alright, except that’s not what Amazon had done before.
Inc’s conclusion? “If you’re giving someone something as a benefit because they gave you money for your $140 a year subscription, it’s not great if you suddenly escalate that thing and wait for them to pay more to make it a better experience.”

So if you’re not going to pay extra to upgrade to Amazon’s “Unlimited Music” service, fast business explains that “It’s probably best to think of Music Prime as a Pandora-like service where you choose an artist or genre that you like and let Amazon sort out which songs are going to be played for you.”

The only catch is that if you’re streaming Music Prime to an Amazon Echo device – which we do all the time in my house – it will turn off after an hour of inactivity. So if you’re planning on throwing a party and asking Alexa to spin 80s music all night long, you’ll have to keep asking every hour.

Another sticking point for some: Music Prime sound quality is available in “standard” definition, while Music Unlimited subscribers have access to “HD” and “Ultra HD” tracks depending on the mastering of each album.

Select Music Unlimited tracks can also be played in “spatial audio” – which is billed as “a multi-dimensional audio experience, adding spaciousness, clarity and depth not achievable with traditional stereo music” . Away, man.
Deep in the fine print of Amazon Music FAQs, you will find some additional options. There’s also a “single device” plan for $4.99 per month and a “family plan” offering six accounts for $14.99 per month. But Amazon apparently offers its biggest savings to students enrolled in a degree-granting college or university, with a heavily discounted price”Amazon Music Unlimited for Students” program.