Amazon's streaming service Music Unlimited launches in the UK

 
Lynsey Barber
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Music streaming will cost as little as £3.99 (Source: Getty)

Amazon is launching its new music streaming service in the UK in a bid to take on Spotify and Apple Music, priced from as little as £3.99.

It comes less than a month after the long-rumoured service was revealed in the US, and will feature music from top artists such as Adele.

“We’ve been thrilled with customer reaction to the launch of Amazon Music Unlimited in the US last month and we’re excited to quickly bring the service to customers in the UK,” said Amazon Music vice president Steve Boom.

Read more: Eight very cool ways Amazon Echo can make your life easier

Amazon is pinning its hopes on integration with its home assistant device to give it a leg up on rivals. Those who want to listen only via Amazon Echo will pay just £3.99 for the service.

For those who already have a subscription to its Prime service it will be £7.99, or £79 per year, while the standard price for non-prime members is £9.99.

Take a look at Amazon Music Unlimited's features

Amazon has been working on the launch of its streaming service in the UK since it first debuted Prime Music last July, which has included work on getting Alexa, the voice assistant of the Echo, to understand commands when people are asking it to play music, such as ensuring it knows the latest song by an artist.

Unlimited will have millions more tracks (40m) and other features for users compared to Prime Music, which had already picked up more than one million users in its first year.

Prime Music will remain available to existing customers, said Amazon's head of digital music in the UK Paul Firth. While the new service won't be overly sold to these users, Amazon expects a number of them to upgrade to the expanded Music Unlimited service.

Read more: Watch out Spotify? Amazon's music streaming service has arrived

A UK team will work on creating local playlists for the service and while the firm would not disclose the size of the team, said it now had more than twice as many people working on digital music than physical music and plans to increase the number in future.

Other features include side-by-side, specially created playlists from artists including commentary. Echo's Alexa can also recognise songs via lyrics and not just specific song titles, musicians or bands.

Users can also ask for songs by mood and decade, while the app will feature recommendations and uses machine learning to understand listeners likes and dislikes.

5 prases you can ask Alexa to play music on Echo via Amazon Music Unlimited

  • “Alexa, play the song that goes, ‘I was doing just fine before I met you’”Alexa will play, “Closer” by The Chainsmokers
  • “Alexa, play the most popular indie from the 90s”
  • “Alexa, play music” Alexa will choose music personalised to you
  • “Alexa, play Sia”Alexa will play Sia's most popular songs
  • “Alexa, play Clean Bandit’s new song”Alexa will play their latest single “Rockabye”

Wrapping up the service with Prime membership is a savvy move, according to analysts, making it just one more addition to Amazon's vast array of services.

“Amazon has a great advantage – a huge user base which is already happy to pay for its goods and services," said Kantar Worldpanel's Andy Saxton, who notes that Amazon shoppers are already more likely to music subscribers.

"The site has 20m existing entertainment shoppers, over a third of whom have purchased music from Amazon over the past year. Meanwhile, almost half of all music customers have shopped with Amazon over the same time so the new service certainly has the potential to disrupt the music market."

The firm's analysis found 13 per cent of Amazon's music shoppers subscribe to Spotify. "... there is the possibility that Amazon Music Unlimited could significantly impact this streaming giant’s existing customer base if users decide they want to streamline their digital services," said Saxton.

How Amazon Unlimited compares

Service Standard price Other price Other price Other price
Amazon Music Unlimited £9.99 £7.99 (Prime member) £79 (per year Prime member) £3.99 (Echo only)
Apple Music £9.99 £14.99 (family) £4.99 (student) -
Spotify £9.99 £14.99 (family) £4.99 (student) -
Deezer £9.99 £14.99 (family) - -
Tidal £9.99 £19.99 (HiFi high quality) - -

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