Amazon today announced a new benefit for its Prime members that could steer some subscribers away from other music services, like Apple Music or Spotify. The company said it will now offer Prime subscribers a full music catalog with 100 million songs, instead of the previously more limited selection of just 2 million songs, and will make most of its service’s top podcasts available ad-free. . Additionally, the Amazon Music app is getting a redesign, which includes a new “Podcast Previews” feature that will let customers listen to short clips to discover new podcasts they might like.
The move directly targets streaming music competitors, particularly Spotify, which has entered the podcast market to generate additional revenue. But Spotify’s paid subscriber base is increasingly frustrated that they still have to listen to podcast commercials, despite paying for the service. Amazon Music’s promise of ad-free podcasts as well as an extensive music catalog could be a compelling alternative, the retail giant hopes.
Picture credits: Amazon
Ad-free podcasts include shows from big brands like CNN, NPR, The New York Times, and ESPN.
Other commercial-free shows include the Wondery catalog of podcasts, like “Dr. Death,” “SmartLess,” and “Even the Rich,” and new Amazon Exclusive shows, including “MrBallen Podcast: Strange, Dark & Mysterious Stories ;” “Suspect: missing in snow; “COLD Season 3: The Search for Sheree;” “Daily Psyche Killer”; “I Hear Fear”, narrated by Oscar-nominated actress Carey Mulligan; and a weekly bonus episode of “The Old Man and the Three,” hosted by former NBA player JJ Redick. The Amazon Exclusive podcast series “Baby, this is Keke Palmer,” from actress and entrepreneur Keke Palmer (NOPE) also debuts today.
Amazon, in announcing the news, acknowledged that Prime Music’s more limited catalog is no longer the main selling point for consumers that it once was.
“When Amazon Music first launched for Prime members, we offered an ad-free catalog of 2 million songs, which was very unique for music streaming at the time,” said Steve Boom. , vice president of Amazon Music, in a statement regarding the launch. “We continue to innovate on behalf of our customers and bring even more entertainment to Prime members, on top of the convenience and value they already enjoy. We look forward to members experiencing not just a catalog of songs massively expanded, but also the largest selection of ad-free podcasts at no additional cost to their membership,” he added.
Along with the expansion of the service and ad-free podcasts, the Amazon Music app will get a facelift, including the launch of the new podcast preview feature. This allows customers to listen to a short sound bite from a podcast episode to help them decide if it’s something they’d like.
Prime members will use the main Amazon Music app to access the full music catalog, Amazon says. The app also offers standard features like the ability to shuffle any artist, album, or playlist, stream custom playlists, download songs for offline listening, and more. While Prime members can’t stream on-demand music without upgrading to the paid tier, the larger catalog may make sense for more casual music listeners who prefer a more laid-back experience.
The company’s previously broader music service, Amazon Prime Unlimited, isn’t going away. The service, which costs $8.99/month or $89/year, will allow users to access all on-demand songs in HD (16-bit/44.1kHz) and UHD 24-bit/44.1 quality. at 192 kHz) on all devices. Moreover, this premium tier offers millions of songs in spatial audio format.
The changes follow Amazon’s decision to raise the annual price of its Prime free shipping program earlier this year from $119 to $139, raising concerns that Prime membership is getting too expensive – especially on account. given the current economic climate where consumers are struggling with the cost of goods. and gasoline. While Amazon has added other perks in recent days, like a Grubhub+ subscription, a large music catalog could be a better selling point if it allows customers to cancel another music subscription and make a switch. .
additional reporting: Ivan Mehta