Alyssa Powell/Business Insider
- Amazon offers two streaming options: Prime Music and Music Unlimited.
- Amazon Prime Music is free and included with Prime memberships, while Amazon Music Unlimited is a premium service that costs $7.99 a month for existing Prime members (or $9.99 a month for those who aren’t Prime members).
- If you already pay for Amazon Prime, Prime music is a great service to take advantage of at no extra cost. If you don’t have a streaming service yet and are looking for an affordable option, Music Unlimited is a good choice if you already have Prime. [can you be a little more specific about who each one is best for? this doesn’t explain the difference between what they each offer, or give a reader enough info to make a quick judgement call – which is the goal of these bullets.]
I love listening to music, so I was surprised that it took me so long to discover Amazon Prime’s music offerings. I had heard that Amazon had a music selection, but I really never took the time to check it out until a few weeks ago. If you have Amazon Prime, you may already know about Prime Music — a limited but free streaming service that comes with your membership. Then there’s Amazon Music Unlimited, the premium streaming service that Prime members can get at a discounted rate of $7.99 a month ($9.99 if you don’t have Prime).
Prime Music and Music Unlimited share many features, so it can be a little confusing to understand what each really offers. To make it easy for you, we’re going to give you a quick breakdown of their similarities and differences.
Amazon Music Unlimited vs. Prime Music
Amazon Music Unlimited is the souped-up version of Prime Music. But, at the core of it, both of the services share a variety of features.
- Ad-free listening: Whether you have the free version or pay for the premium upgrade, Amazon will always let you listen without ads.
- On demand: Many "freemium" streaming services don’t let you listen on demand unless you pay for the service. That means you have to listen in shuffle mode and can only skip a number of songs a day. With both Amazon services, you can skip an unlimited number of songs and listen for as many hours as you’d like.
- Interface: The interface is the same across both services. You’ll find thousands of curated playlists and personalized stations based on your listening history in both models.
- Alexa interaction: You can use your voice to control music playback through Alexa with both services.
- Offline listening: Both services let you stream music when you’re offline, except for the Music Unlimited single-device plan, which is the lowest-cost option that works solely with one Alexa-enabled device — this is understandable as you need internet to power your Alexa device.
- Selection: The most notable difference, in my opinion, is the selection. Prime Music’s 2 million songs may sound like a lot, but most streaming services offer tens of millions of songs — making 2 million look pretty meager. Prime Music has a variety of artists, but many of my favorite artists only had one song on the platform. With 50 million songs, Music Unlimited fills all the holes. I was impressed by the selection and did not feel that it was lacking in any way.
- Price: Prime Music is free if you have Amazon Prime. If you’re not, this unfortunately isn’t a service you can opt into — rather, it’s a nice free perk for Prime members. Music Unlimited is $7.99 a month for Prime Members, or $79 a year, a pretty affordable price when it comes to streaming services. If you don’t have a Prime membership, Music Unlimited will cost you $9.99 a month, which is around the industry standard. Music Unlimited also offers student discounts and family plans.
- Voice commands: If you love your Alexa device, Music Unlimited offers even more voice commands. You can ask Alexa to play a specific song or just give a vague request like "Alexa, play upbeat country music" and see what she picks.
- Exclusive content: Music Unlimited lets you pull back the curtains and go behind the scenes of some of your favorite songs. Side-by-sides, as they’re called, offer exclusive artist commentary on their own songs and albums.
If you have Amazon Prime, congrats — you already have Prime Music. This is definitely a nice added perk to the Prime membership, especially since it’s at no extra cost to you. If you like listening to music in discovery mode, and aren’t too particular about what you’re listening too, then Prime Music may be enough for you. But, if you like to listen to the songs you want, when you want them, you may feel let down by Prime Music’s small selection.
Amazon Music Unlimited comes at an added cost, but it may be worth it for some listeners. If you’re someone who loves to use your Alexa devices, and are particularly involved in the Amazon sphere, a service like Music Unlimited will probably serve you well — it has a large catalog of songs, integrates well with Alexa, and account management and payments are simplified with your existing Amazon login. If you already have Amazon Prime, this is one of the most affordable streaming services around. If you don’t, you can try the service for free for 30 days.
If you don’t have Amazon Prime already, sign up for a free trial now so you can experience Prime Music.
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