If you’re looking for unlimited, ad-free music across devices and you’re already an Amazon customer, it could be time to check out the online shopping giant’s Music Unlimited service, which challenges Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube Music head-on with aggressively priced subscription packages.
Available as an app on-the-go, or on all your smart home Alexa-enabled devices like the excellent Echo-series, the monthly or annual subscription service delivers tunes straight to your device, gives you plenty of scope for playlist making and suggested artist discovering, and it simultaneously undercuts much of the competition too.
[Update: Amazon Music now has a Hi-Res Audio streaming tier, called Amazon Music HD. It's currently being rolled out in the US, UK, Germany, and Japan, and it'll cost $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 Unlimited in a nutshell
Amazon Music Unlimited is a music streaming service that offers on-demand access to tens of millions of songs. Through the service, you can also access thousands of playlists, create your own or discover music with personalised Amazon Music stations and recommendations.
If you have an internet connection, you can access Amazon Music Unlimited anywhere, either through the app or the website, and even if you don’t, supported devices can save your music offline, so your long-haul flights and underground commutes can be lifted by a soundtrack of your choice.
What devices are supported?
If you have a smartphone or tablet, odds are, it can run Amazon Music unlimited. Just dive into the Apple App Store on your iOS device, Google Play Store on your Android Device or the Fire Store on your Kindle Fire tablet. Next, search for Amazon Music, download the app, and you’re good to go.
The music doesn’t stop there, however. Amazon Music is also accessible on Alexa devices throughout your smart home, whether it’s an Alexa enabled smart speaker, like the Sonos One, a Fire TV, or one of Amazon’s speakers or screens like the Echo Plus or the Echo Show. If you already have an excellent – but disconnected – sound system, you could even smarten it up and enable Amazon Music Unlimited on it with an Amazon Echo Input - one of our favourite, affordable gadgets of 2019.
Even if you don’t have a phone or smart speaker to hand, fire up a web browser window, and you can also access the service by heading to music.amazon.com, where you can access all your recommendations, playlists and saved albums at the office or a party in a pinch.
How do I find music on it?
Accessing tracks through the app or a browser couldn’t be easier, and with tens of millions of songs to choose from, it’ll probably have the one you’re looking for. There’s a familiar search bar in which to type in the artist, album or title you want to find. The results also display what you searched for, as well as some recommendations and playlists to help you find related tunes and broaden your musical repertoire.
You can also find tracks by talking too, if you’ve got an Alexa enabled device. A quick “Alexa, play Abba, The Winner Takes It All”, will fire the song up, or if you want more of a mood setting playlist, “Alexa, play some dinner jazz” will have your party ambience on-point in moments
Pushing your musical taste boat out and discovering new tracks is also a doddle, with curated Amazon’s Prime Playlists comprehensively spanning genres and decades. You can follow lists, which get updated so you’re always on top of new music, and you can even see what other Amazon Music Unlimited customers who listened to your favorite tracks listen to as well.
How much does it cost?
A standard subscription price for a single user signing up to Amazon Music Unlimited is $9.99/£9.99 per month, but you can get your first four months for just 99¢/99p, working out to less than 25¢/25p per month.
After the trial period is over, the monthly subscription bumps up to $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 for your smart speaker, but not on the go, 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. Prime users can also benefit from some hefty discounts if they pay annually.
You can sign-up through your Android device, PC or Mac, Fire TV or Fire tablet - look for a “Go Unlimited” button to get started, go with a free plan or access the promotional four-month trial. Once subscribed, you can manage your subscription settings from your Amazon account through a browser - and you can cancel your subscription or free trial at any time.
But I already have Prime Music, aren’t they the same?
No, as great as Prime Music is as part of your Amazon Prime subscription, it isn’t anywhere near as comprehensive when it comes to the number of tracks available, when compared to Amazon Music Unlimited.
A simple example is Elton John’s back catalogue, with tracks like I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues only available as part of Music Unlimited. In our search, 6/10 tracks we looked for were available on Prime Music, and 9/10 were available on Music Unlimited.
So, it’s basically Spotify?
Yes, and no. The streaming music aspect of Spotify is very much covered by Amazon Music Unlimited. That said, it doesn’t officially support podcasts just yet, and Karaoke tracks, in particular, seem to be a bit thin on the ground, unlike on Spotify. When it comes to price, it does undercut the other services if you’re a Prime Member, especially if you have a six-person family.
Breaking down the maths, an annual six-person subscription is $149/£149. If you have six users, that’s around $2/£2 per month, per user. Meanwhile, Spotify’s family-subscription is $14.99/£14.99 per month, which works out to $2.50/£2.50 per user. Over the year, that’s a saving of $30.88/£30.88 for the family on Amazon Music Unlimited versus Spotify.
As a result, if you’re living in a household filled with Alexa devices and people, and are tired of Peppa Pig popping up in your suggested tracks, then Amazon Music Unlimited could be a cost-effective way to get every member of your family, or every smart speaker a music profile of their, or its, own.
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