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What is Amazon Music? Here's everything you need to know in 2023
Amazon is more than an online shopping platform. The company offers plenty of other services, including Amazon Music, a music streaming platform that rivals the likes of Spotify and YouTube Music. And while Amazon Music doesn’t have the same appeal as many of its rivals, there is plenty to like. We’ll look at what it offers in detail and determine if it’s worth signing up for an account.
What is Amazon Music?
Amazon Music is an online music and podcast streaming service. You can browse through millions of songs and episodes with recommendations based on your preferences and listening habits.
The Unlimited subscription level’s catalog boasts over 90 million tracks and offline listening. In comparison, Spotify and YouTube Music have over 80 million tracks. A notable perk is that there is no upcharge for access to 16-bit and 24-bit tracks or spatial audio, all of which are included. That’s similar to Apple Music, which lets you listen to high-bitrate and spatial audio content without paying extra. A notable feature found on Amazon Music is X-Ray which provides details, including writer and performer credits, about the track you’re listening to, if available.
Amazon Music works great with Alexa.
Because Amazon Music shares an ecosystem with other Amazon products, you can also use the service with Alexa. Tapping the Alexa icon in the app lets you control content using your voice. Certain smart speakers and Echo devices also allow you do this.
There are a few different subscription levels available. You can opt for a free account if you don’t want to commit. A notable perk of an Amazon Prime subscription is that you get Prime Music included and Prime Video, or you can upgrade to the Unlimited plan for just an additional $7.99 per month. We’ll discuss the differences between these plans a bit later on.
Is Amazon Music free?
The most basic, ad-supported access level of Amazon Music, appropriately called Amazon Music Free, doesn’t cost you anything. It is a pretty limited experience, however.
You can access thousands of stations and playlists, but not individual songs on demand. There is far less when it comes to personalized recommendations, with playback mostly shuffle-based.
Spotify’s free access level is similar, with limited shuffle-based playback and six skips per hour. No offline play is possible, either. Apple Music also limits the available content catalog on its free access level.
You don’t need a credit card to use Amazon Music Free. You will need to create a basic account, however. If that all sounds too limited, there are a few different paid access levels.
Why upgrade to Amazon Music Prime or Unlimited?
While the basic ad-supported Amazon Music Free tier lets you listen to music, signing up for a paid tier nets you some benefits. Namely, ads will no longer interrupt your experience, but the paid subscription levels have other benefits, too.
If you have an Amazon Prime account, you can use Amazon Music Prime, which has the following upgrades:
- Two million songs: A more extensive content catalog lets you enjoy more tunes.
- Offline play: Save songs to listen to without internet connection and unlimited skips.
The most fully-featured experience comes as a part of Amazon Music Unlimited, which includes:
- Ninety million songs: A much larger on-demand catalog of content.
- Offline play: Save songs and get unlimited skips with no internet connection.
- Higher-quality streaming: Listen to 75 million songs in CD quality and seven million in 24-bit.
- Spatial audio: listen to thousands of tracks supporting Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Reality Audio.
How does Amazon Music work?
You’ll need an internet connection to sign up for Amazon Music. After that, you have a few ways to create an account:
- For Amazon Music Free, head to the website and click “Sign In.” After that, select “Create your Amazon account” if you don’t already have one. If you do, use the same username and password to sign in.
- If you want Amazon Music Prime, visit the same website and log in with your Amazon credentials. As long as the account you use to sign in has Prime, you’ll also have access to Amazon Music Prime. If not, you’ll have to sign up for Amazon Prime first.
- To sign up for Amazon Music Unlimited, visit the sign-up page and click on “Try it free” to sign up or log in. There is a 30-day free trial available for new subscribers.
You can download Amazon Music apps on your phone, Mac, and PC. If you have an Echo device, you can use Amazon Music there, too. Plus, certain cars, as does the Fire TV, have an Amazon Music app. If you don’t want to use the app, you can opt for the web player in your browser instead.
Discovering music and playlists
Once you have an account, finding music and podcasts is pretty straightforward. Upon logging in, the My Soundtrack feature automatically creates a station based on your likes and listening habits. In contrast, My Discovery Mix creates a playlist based on similar data, updated every Monday. Furthermore, there’s a dedicated Find tab in the mobile app where you can discover all sorts of music broken down by genres, moods, charts, and more. If you want to find spatial audio or Ultra HD content, this section also contains specific playlists for those.
Top Songs and Top Playlists show you what’s popular now, while Featured This Week contains highlighted artists and genres. You can also browse New Releases and check out what’s topping the Charts. The more you listen, the better the Albums for You and Playlists for You sections will reflect your interests. Meanwhile, Songs for You contains individual tracks you might like. Amazon Music also recommends podcasts depending on what you like and listen to.
[Re]Discover is where you can find older releases you might have missed the first time. And if that weren’t enough, you can browse through Stations for You based on genres or artists.
It’s easy to create your own playlists just by using the Create New Playlist button. You can give the playlist a name and add music as you wish. Any playlists you have followed will also show up here under Followed Playlists.
How much is Amazon Music?
Amazon Music Free won’t cost you anything, but there are paid tiers you can sign up for:
- Amazon Music Prime: This is included with an Amazon Prime membership of $14.99 / £7.99 / €7.99 per month or $139 / £79 / €69 per year. Students can snag it for $7.49 / £4.49 / €2.99 per month or $69 / £47.49 / €24 annually.
- Amazon Music Unlimited: This single-account subscription is $10.99 / £10.99 / €10.99 per month. It’s a little cheaper if you already have Prime, coming in at $8.99 / £8.99 / €8.99 per month or $89 annually. A family plan costs $14.99 / £14.99 / €14.99 per month or $149 / £149 / €149 per year and requires a Prime account. Students can snag Unlimited for $5.99 / £5.99 / €5.99 per month.
There is also the Single Device Plan, a feature-limited subscription only available on specific Echo devices. It’s $5.99 / £5.99 / €5.99 per month, but you don’t get higher-bitrate streaming or spatial audio.
Note that these prices differ across Europe depending on your country. Furthermore, in mid-September 2022, Amazon plans to increase prices across Europe.
Is Amazon Music available in my country?
Amazon Music is currently available in around 50 countries worldwide. You can get it in the US, Canada, Australia, most of Europe, and many other countries, but it isn’t available in most of Asia and a few smaller European countries — see the full list here. This means the service has less reach than rivals like Spotify, which is available in more than 18 countries.
Additionally, not all countries have access to all of Amazon Music’s plans. No need to worry if you’re from the US, but users in countries like Ireland and Sweden can only sign up for Amazon Music Unlimited. The free plan isn’t available, and the Prime subscription doesn’t include the basic Amazon Music Prime service.
If you can’t get Amazon Music where you live, don’t fret, there are alternatives.
Amazon Music alternatives
Amazon Music isn’t the only streaming option. There are many others, and some might suit you better.
Here are a few you can try and why they might be a better fit.
Spotify has plenty of brand recognition in the streaming music world. It has lots of songs and podcasts you can browse. Plus, if you are in the United States, you can snag a discounted ad-supported Hulu subscription at the same time.
An individual account is $9.99 monthly. A two-person subscription option gets you dual accounts for $12.99. If you want a family plan, that’s $15.99 per month, while a student discount brings down an individual account to $4.99 per month.
There is currently no higher-quality streaming available. This was supposed to launch in 2021 with Spotify HiFi, but it has yet to appear.
Apple Music has a limited free tier like Amazon Music. However, the full version has over 50 million songs, iCloud integration, and podcasts.
An individual Apple Music subscription costs $9.99 monthly, and a family plan costs $14.99. If you have Apple One, you’ll get Apple TV Plus, iCloud, Apple Arcade, and more bundled in for just $14.95 a month. A limited version called Voice is $4.99 monthly. It lets you browse the entire library, but some features will not be available, including offline play and multiple device support.
Qobuz focuses on quality, and every subscription has lossless content. The catalog might be missing some of what you enjoy, however. There is no free subscription, but you can buy content from the Qobuz music store regardless without one.
A single-user Studio subscription is $12.99 monthly or $129.99 annually. A two-person account is $17.99 per month or $179.88 annually. A single-user Sublime subscription is $179.99 per year with the same features plus up to 60% off on purchases from the store. The two-person version of this subscription is $179.88 annually or $17.99 per month. Qobuz family plans are $17.99 monthly and support up to six users on the same account.
YouTube Music is Google’s streaming service. It doesn’t offer high-quality streaming, but it has a massive catalog. If you want to find obscure tracks or difficult-to-find content, this service likely has them. Furthermore, the recommendations algorithm is good at finding music you’ll probably enjoy.
You can sign up for $9.99 monthly. However, if you buy YouTube Premium at $11.99 monthly, you also get YouTube Music and no more video ads. A family plan is $14.99 monthly, and the student price is $4.99 monthly.
Deezer might not be as big of a name as other options, but it still has an extensive content catalog. It also has plenty of bonus features, such as SongCatcher, which can determine what music is currently playing around you and add it to your collection.
Deezer Premium is $9.99 monthly for one person on up to three devices. It includes ad-free playback, unlimited skips, and 16-bit, CD-quality tracks are available. An annual plan will give you 25% off the price. The family plan is $14.99 per month. It has the same features available for up to six people on the same account across up to 13 devices, and you can make child-specific profiles. Students can score up to 50% off with the applicable discount.
TIDAL also focuses on high-bitrate streaming, with options to sign up for HiFi or HiFi Plus plans. There is also video content, including music videos, live shows, and documentaries — some of which can only be found on TIDAL.
An individual HiFI plan is $9.99 monthly with access to 16-bit tracks. The family HiFi plan is $14.99 monthly for up to six people to use at once. HiFi Plus is $19.99 per month and has 24-bit tracks available, plus support for Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Reality Audio. A family HiFi Plus plan is $29.99 per month. You can get discounts if you are a student, in the military, or a first responder.
Frequently asked questions about Amazon Music
Amazon Music offers a free subscription with Amazon Music Free. There are ads and the service is limited to only shuffle-based playback from a limited set of the full content catalog. You also don’t get HD or Ultra HD playback or spatial audio.
There are a few paid tiers you can choose from:
Amazon Music Prime is included with the purchase of an Amazon Prime membership of $14.99 / £7.99 / €7.99 per month or $139 / £79 / €69 per year. Students can purchase it for $7.49 / £4.49 / €2.99 monthly or $69 / £47.49 / €24 annually.
An Amazon Music Unlimited single-account subscription costs $9.99 / £9.99 / €9.99 monthly. With Prime, it’s $8.99 / £8.99 / €8.99 monthly or $89 annually. A family plan costs $14.99 / £14.99 / €14.99 monthly or $149 / £149 / €149 per year and requires a Prime account. Students can snag Unlimited for $4.99 / £4.99 / €4.99 monthly.
The Amazon Music Single Device Plan is a feature-limited subscription only available on select Echo devices. It’s $4.99 / £4.99 / €4.99 monthly, but you don’t get higher-bitrate streaming or spatial audio.
Amazon Music Unlimited offers some upgrades over the free version. These include ad-free listening, offline play, HD and Ultra HD tracks, spatial audio, and full access to the over 90 million songs available.
Yes, for songs with lyrics, you can see them using the Amazon Music app or in the web player.
Yes, an Unlimited or Prime subscription lets you save songs for offline play.
Yes, an Unlimited subscription gives you access to both 16-bit (HD) and 24-bit (Ultra HD) lossless tracks.
Yes, Unlimited users with a Chromecast or Alexa device can cast using the Amazon Music app.
They aren’t the same thing, but they’re related. Amazon Music Prime is included with a Prime subscription, giving you access to two million tracks plus offline play. Amazon Music Unlimited does not require a Prime account, but the monthly charge is cheaper if you have one. It gives you access to the 90 million track catalog, HD and Ultra HD tracks, offline play, and spatial audio.
That depends on what you want. Spotify has an extensive content catalog plus podcasts, as does Amazon Music, but Amazon Music also has higher-bitrate streaming options and spatial audio, which Spotify does not (yet) have. You can use Spotify on many devices, including TVs, gaming consoles, and cars. This is also true for Amazon Music, but support is not quite as broad. Spotify gives you discounted access to Hulu with an account in the United States, while Amazon Prime nets you Amazon Music Unlimited at a discount, plus access to Prime Video.