Changes to Amazon Music: What can the streaming service (still) do?
Amazon recently let its Prime customers know via newsletter: "Your Amazon Prime Music advantage has improved". However, many customers see things differently.
Hardly any control over the music at Prime Music
Everything reads positively at first: Amazon has increased access to Prime Music from 2 million songs to 100 million songs. Many podcasts have also been added. In addition, the offer is still free of advertising – apart from the rather offensive request to subscribe to the premium version.
But the degree of control has also changed massively – unfortunately for the worse. The songs are no longer available directly, but only in shuffle mode. Many customers report: Although they request specific music from their Echo , a completely different one is played. The selection mechanism determined by an AI also receives bad criticism.
To explain: Every direct song request now produces a playlist created by Amazon in which the song appears – the only question is when. If you are not satisfied with the selection, you can only skip two to eight songs per hour. There are different user reports on this. The download of songs is only possible to a very limited extent. This means that with Amazon Prime Music you can only listen to music offline via detours. You can read more about this further down in the article.
Frustration is increasing for many Prime subscribers. After all, Amazon has just increased the Prime subscription prices significantly. And there is also trouble with Prime Video because many films and series have moved to "Freevee". Although this is free for everyone, even without a Prime subscription, it also has advertising for everyone. The Amazon Prime subscription seems to be losing value.
Ways out of the shuffle dilemma
If you still want to have targeted access to songs after the changes in Prime Music and want to skip songs as often as you like, you have two options.
- Upgrading to Amazon Music Unlimited: This first option is the most obvious and intended step by Amazon. With the Unlimited service, all of the limitations mentioned do not apply. For individual Prime users, the subscription costs EUR 8.99 per month, EUR 1 less than for non-Prime members. A family offer for up to six accounts is available for EUR 14.99.
- Using AI-generated playlists: This second option bypasses the paid upgrade, but it also has disadvantages. The playlists are apparently created by Amazon based on your listening behavior – but by the AI mentioned above, which has been criticized by many. In these lists, direct selection of songs and unlimited skipping should be possible. It is questionable whether the songs you want are included.
With the changes to Amazon Prime Music, the balance of power in the free portion of the music streaming market is shifting. So far, Prime Music has been a useful addition for you if you already have a subscription to Prime – for example because of the video service or the shipping flat rate. If you could manage with the limited music offer, you didn't need an additional music streaming service.
Amazon Prime has now lost this advantage over the competition. Although the free offers from other providers are also limited, they still offer more than Prime Music.
Above all, the big competitor Spotify has long offered a very similar free offer. The Spotify app is available on all imaginable platforms, it can also be easily set up on Amazon's own Echo.
Unfortunately, you can't control songs directly here either and have to live with occasional commercials between the songs. The automatically created playlists are much more customized – and you don't need a Prime subscription. The premium version of Spotify costs EUR 9.99 for an individual subscription or EUR 14.99 for a family subscription. There is also a duo subscription for 12.99 euros – attractive for couples.
YouTube Music, formerly known as Play Music, can be found on every Android smartphone. There is also a function-restricted free mode. Here you can find and select songs directly, but you have to accept advertising before playing them. Also, music playback only works when the app is running in the foreground. The prices for the premium version of YouTube Music are identical to those of Spotify, only the duo offer does not exist.
- Amazon has expanded the music selection for Prime members, but limited the control over how they are played.
- Direct title selection and downloads are only possible from automatically created playlists or with an additional premium subscription.
- The advantages for Prime members over competitors like Spotify have become scarce. While there is still no advertising on Prime Music, other services have clear advantages. YouTube Music, for example, offers direct song selection.