The new feature, dubbed "Prime Music," allows
subscribers of the $99-a-year program to stream or download more
than a million songs without added fees or interruptions from
This is one of many steps Amazon has taken in recent months to
broaden the appeal of Prime, which includes perks such as free
two-day shipping, after increasing its price to $99 from $79.
But the selection on Amazon's streaming service is less robust
than Spotify and Beats, which both offer more than 20 million
songs. Amazon will also have fewer new songs and will not
include songs from Universal Music Group Inc's catalog, which
includes work from artists Kanye West and Lady Gaga.
Amazon's head of digital music, Steve Boom, acknowledged those
shortcomings, but added that because the service is free with
Prime, it offers more bang per buck than standalone streaming
services that can cost $10 a month.
"If there are a few tracks you want to buy, the cost of doing
that in our store will be dramatically less than paying $120 a
year for, frankly, a lot of music people don't listen to," Boom
said in an interview.
Amazon's own data shows that a "substantial" portion of the 25
million to 30 million songs sold on its website are never
purchased, he said. He declined to elaborate.
Universal, the world's largest record company, and Amazon are
still in negotiations about the service, he said, declining to
elaborate on the negotiations or its sticking points.
Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and other smaller
labels have signed on to the Amazon service. In some of its
deals with labels, Amazon will have to wait up to six months
after songs are released to add them to its service. In other
cases, Amazon will be able to add new songs immediately.
The new service is a reflection of Amazon's aggressive push into
new areas such as digital content and hardware. Next week, Chief
Executive Officer Jeff Bezos is expected to unveil Amazon's
first smartphone during an event in Seattle.
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