Amazon Music could soon beat Apple – but Spotify is still the streaming king

amazon music
(Image credit: Amazon)

Amazon has announced that its music streaming service, Amazon Music, has surpassed 55 million subscribers, with paid subscriptions to Amazon Music Unlimited growing by 50% over the last year. 

That means Amazon is closing in on Apple Music, which reported 60 million subscriber numbers in mid-2019, according to the Financial Times.

However, both Amazon and Apple have a long way to go if they hope to unseat Spotify from the music streaming throne; the world's most popular music service hit 113 million subscribers in October last year.

What's behind Amazon's growth?

Vice president of Amazon Music, Steve Boom, had this to say: "Our strategy is unique and, like everything we do at Amazon, starts with our customers. We've always been focused on expanding the marketplace for music streaming by offering music listener's unparalleled choice because we know that different listeners have different needs".

Over the past year, Amazon focused on giving its subscribers lots of choice, bringing in new subscription tiers like Amazon Music HD.

The new plan means that customers in the US, UK, Germany, and Japan can stream their music in Hi-Res codecs, allowing them to "hear their favorite music the way the artist intended".

Amazon Music HD is the brand's answer to Tidal. Eventually, over 50 million lossless songs will be available in CD-quality, with more tracks available in even higher resolutions. 

It costs $12.99 / £12.99 for Prime members, and $14.99 / £14.99 for everyone else – cheaper than Tidal's lossless streaming tier, which costs $19.99 / £19.99.

Amazon Music

(Image credit: Amazon)

Amazon Music also offers free listening, but that comes with ads.The ad-free monthly subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited costs $9.99/£9.99 for standard users, $7.99/£7.99 if you’re an Amazon Prime member and $4.99/£4.99 for students. These subscriptions can be used across multiple devices, but offer only one user profile. 

If you just want an Amazon Music Unlimited subscription to use solely at home on your smart speaker, that costs $3.99/£3.99 per month, per device, or you can get a family plan for $14.99/£14.99 per month for up to six users. 

Spotify, by comparison, offers just two tiers: Free and Premium (although Spotify Premium does have varying prices for individuals, students, and families). 

Whether this strategy will ever be enough to topple Spotify is unclear – after all, Amazon has a long way to go if it wants to match its biggest rival's subscriber numbers. However, toppling Apple Music looks like a far likelier prospect for Amazon's growing streaming service.

Olivia Tambini

Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.