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Here’s everything you need to know about one of the most popular music streaming services.
By now, most people can’t live without Amazon Prime, but what is Amazon Music Unlimited? With iTunes in its grave, you may find yourself looking for other ways to jam out to your fave tunes, old and new. If that’s the case, you shouldn’t overlook Amazon’s music streaming service.
What is Amazon Music Unlimited?
Following Spotify and Apple Music, Amazon Music Unlimited is one of the most popular music streaming services. Unlike Prime Music (which offers limited streaming and is included with every standard Prime membership), Amazon Music Unlimited is a separate subscription service that grants users unlimited, ad-free access to 50 million songs. You also get access to any album within the Amazon Music library–even when you’re listening offline.
And if you’ve got an Amazon device such as the Echo, you can control the setlist and volume with the power of your voice. Using Alexa commands like “Alexa, play Panini by Lil Nas X,” “Alexa, create a playlist” and “Alexa, play [emotion] music” you’ll be able to set the mood, DJ a party, or switch-up your shower playlist without ever having to lift a finger.
Amazon Music Unlimited Cost
The Amazon Music Unlimited price is contingent on whatever membership plan you choose to sign up for. Currently, Amazon offers four different Amazon Music Unlimited subscriptions: Individual, Family, Single Device, or the Student Plan. All of the plans allow you unfiltered access to the entirety of Amazon’s music library, but they also have their own variables (other than price). So to help you find the best fit for you, we’ve broken down what you get with each membership below.
The original Amazon Music Unlimited membership supports one profile with unlimited access to any song, artist, playlist, or album across any Amazon Music-enabled device. So you can listen offline with your smartphone, tablet, or anywhere else you may have the Amazon Music Unlimited app!
Price: $7.99/month for Prime members, $9.99/month for non-Prime members (after free 30-day trial)
Looking for something to help out your entire household? You’ll want to check out the Amazon Music Unlimited Family Plan. It supports up to six devices at once, so if you’re listening to jazz in the shower someone else can get their ’80s groove on while they empty the dishwasher or go put gas in the car.
Price: $14.99/month (after free 30-day trial)
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Let’s say you’ve got an Amazon device and primarily use that for all your music streaming. Well, guess what–you can save a few bucks by purchasing a streaming plan just for that device. Amazon Music Unlimited Echo and Fire TV subscriptions top the list for cheapest music streaming options and allow you to enjoy your pick of tunes exactly how you’d like.
Price: $3.99/month (after free 30-day trial)
If you’re currently enrolled in school, you can get Amazon Music Unlimited for an unbeatable price. All you need to sign up with a valid student email, so if you’re looking to join, do so before you graduate!
Price: $4.99/month (after 30-day free trial)
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Amazon Music Unlimited features
All Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers unlock ad-free, unlimited access to all the music on Amazon, which they can choose to stream on Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, or an app via iOS and Android. The service boasts a library of about 50 million songs, which outnumbers both Spotify and Apple Music’s current compilation. With millions of songs to choose from, you’re pretty much guaranteed to find the classic jams you know and love, as well as discover new songs and artists.
The same way most popular music streaming services offer public playlists and stations, Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers gain access to thousands of expert-curated playlists and stations based on what they stream most (or whatever you happen to be in the mood for).
Users can also add songs, artists, and entire albums to their own custom playlists which they can then share with friends and family.
When you’re hitting the road or about to take off on a cross-country flight, you might not always have the option to stream using your data or a WiFi connection. That’s where offline listening comes in. Simply download all the music you want before you disconnect from the internet, and then stream it without a connection from anywhere in the world.
Don’t feel like using your phone or logging onto your computer to change the station or play a different album? If you have an Alexa-enabled device, you can just ask Alexa to do it for you. Try “Alexa, play the most popular R&B from the ’90s” or “Alexa, play the song that goes ‘My baby don’t mess around ’cause she loves me so, this I know fo sho!”
Amazon Music Unlimited vs Prime Music
Anyone with Prime should be familiar with Prime Music as it’s included with your membership. It shares the same library of tunes as Amazon Music Unlimited, but only offers members access to about two million of them. It’s good for what it is since you’re technically getting it for free, but with limited access to songs, artists, and albums, it won’t cut it for the average audiophile.
Amazon Music Unlimited vs Spotify
Spotify is free if you need it to be, but the free service comes with some caveats. First off, if you listen on your phone, you can’t listen to albums all the way through. You can play artists via shuffle, with ads between the tracks, but you can’t choose specific tracks, and you can only skip six songs an hour. Sometimes tracks from similar artists will be mixed in. It’s fine if you love Pandora, but it’s lousy if you need to hear your favorite track when you want to hear it. PC and tablet users can listen to Spotify’s complete collection however they like, including full albums, with ads only getting in the way of the experience every once in a while. If you listen to Spotify when you’re going to bed, that could be a deal-breaker.
Since the price of Spotify Premium is the same as non-Prime members pay for Amazon Music Unlimited ($10/month), Prime members actually save some coins (as well as expand their library) by making the switch from Spotify to Amazon Music Unlimited.
Amazon Music Unlimited vs Apple Music
Apple Music may have some exclusive music deals, but that’s about all it has over this service. The prices for both services are exactly the same when comparing their non-Prime Individual and Family Plans ($9.99/month and $14.99/month respectively), so it really comes down to personal preference on this one. Are you an Apple household or an Amazon one? If it’s the latter, you’d save a few bucks every month by switching to Amazon Music Unlimited and use your Amazon Devices to play music for you (with your voice, no less).
Amazon Music Unlimited vs Google Play Music
If you watch a lot of YouTube, Google Play Music might be the deal for you. It includes YouTube Red for free with your subscription, giving you an ad-free viewing experience on the video site. Given the large amount of music found on YouTube, that may sway you. Like Spotify, Google Play is able to predict what you’ll want to listen to next with its radio feature, and its large library of music is also available for download and offline listening. Google Music costs $9.99 a month, or $14.99 a month for a family of up to six people.
Amazon Music Unlimited vs Tidal
Relaunched by Jay-Z with help from a host of other music icons, Tidal seemed like it was going to be the future of music streaming for a moment. It offered the best quality sound, a large catalog of exclusives, and high-definition music videos in its service. While Tidal is still the only place you can find things like Jay-Z’s complete discography and Beyoncé’s Lemonade, it recently lost its exclusive rights to Prince’s albums, giving people one less reason to subscribe.
Tidal costs $9.99 a month for the standard “premium” service, or $19.99 a month for its lossless high fidelity service. Be careful though to subscribe through its website and not the iOS app. Subscribers who join via the iOS app pay 30 percent more for the service due to Apple Store fees, with costs of $12.99 and $25.99, respectively. If you’re willing to pay a high premium for superior sound quality, or frankly have the sort of equipment where you could notice the difference in sound, Tidal may be worth considering. Otherwise, it’s simply too much money for not enough extra features.
Looking for more help? Here’s what you need to know about Amazon Alexa and how to use Amazon Alexa as an intercom system, Amazon Map Tracking, Amazon Prime Pantry, Amazon Lockers, Amazon Prime Wardrobe, how to sell on Amazon, Amazon Prime membership and if it’s really worth it.
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Marisa Losciale specializes in NSFW culture, audio gear, and photography. A former editorial and photo director for Spoon University at SUNY New Paltz, her work has been featured in the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies, Post-Trash, the New Paltz Oracle, and the Legislative Gazette.