Amazon Prime music service may put the pinch on unlimited song streaming

Amazon Prime music
Would you smile over limited song listens?

Amazon is rumored to be launching a music streaming service for its Prime subscribers, but it might feature time-limited playback of songs.

The online retailer is in negotiations with major record labels that don't want this "free" option to compete directly with subscription-based services, according to the Wall Street Journal.

That's to the benefit of paid services like Spotify, Beats Music and Google Play Music All Access, all of which offer unlimited streaming for a monthly average of $9.99 (£9.99, AU$11.99).

Over a year, that's more than an Amazon Prime subscription, which comes with other benefits like two-day free shipping, Amazon Instant Videos and the Kindle Owners Lending Library. Hence the dilemma.

Compared to iTunes Radio

Amazon's music streaming plans are said to be more akin to Apple's iTunes Radio service that launched alongside iOS 7.

It's a promotion-heavy route that encourages users to buy songs eventually. The path could benefit the online retailer, which began selling DRM-free music in 2007.

Of course, it's not completely altruistic of Amazon to include a music streaming service in its members-only subscription plan. It admitted to wanting to increase the price of Amazon Prime in January.

Launching new Amazon Prime features in addition to the price increase would certainly reduce the chance of a mass exodus, though many subscribers are likely to want its various underutilized features split up.

Matt Swider