Amazon Music faces up to Spotify, doubling subscriptions in half a year

With all the eyes on Apple and Spotify as the leaders of music streaming, Amazon have been quietly yet quickly growing their music streaming service.

Amazon Music is apparently booming right now, according to what they’ve told Billboard recently. Whilst the tech giant have been trying to make music streaming happen for them for a few years now, with the limited Prime Music, since the launch of their standalone music service they seem to be making waves at last.

Amazon Music told Billboard that they have “tens of millions” of paid customers on Amazon Music Unlimited, Amazon’s full streaming service that resembles competitors like Spotify more than their limited Prime Music offering. Amazon Music’s growth is down to 2 major factors, more and more people signing up to Amazon Prime every day and the ever-growing popularity of their Echo speakers – the perfect music streaming companion.

Vice president of Amazon Music, Steve Boom says: “There’s been a lot written about streaming and about smart speakers, but [articles] still talk about it as if this is some future state. We know better than that – it’s actually happening right now. We wouldn’t have grown to this scale if it hadn’t been happening already.”

Boom credits a lot of their success in what can seem like a saturated music streaming market to their ability to reach new audiences. As streaming has boomed in popularity in recent years it has been clearly led by younger audiences who have adopted and embraced the new platforms. With Echo speakers Amazon are able to introduce new demographics to music streaming as older generations adapt through their home assistant.

With voice activation the Echo speakers are simple to use and with Alexa assisting users at every step it has been a big stepping stone into the world of tech for many out of touch with constantly advancing technology. This all translates to more music streaming users as over half of Amazon Music users have used a voice function of Echo to play music and the hours spent listening to music on voice-enabled devices has doubled in the past year.

Boom continued: “Our goal has been to expand the premium streaming market segment, not to run in a horse race with the other players each going after the same demographic. The technology itself is so simple that we don’t just rely on those people who I would say are early tech adopters, which has been where a lot of growth in music streaming has been because it’s been wrapped up inside of a smartphone. Not everybody wants to listen to music on a smartphone, it turns out.

“We find that for customers, especially by just using your voice, it’s both liberating, because you’re not constrained by what’s in front of you, but it can also be daunting because you’re not quite sure what to say sometimes. So we’ve learned that we need to consistently make it easier for customers to get to music, and we’ve launched a lot of different features to support that. For us, it’s always about being on the cutting edge of what a voice-forward music service is meant to be.”

Before Music Unlimited, Amazon had Prime Music which came bundled into a Prime subscription and offered 2 million songs for on-demand streaming. Amazon Music Unlimited on the other hand has more like 30+ million tracks and resembles the big dogs of streaming like Apple Music and Spotify more in it’s on-demand service, apps and flexible pricing depending on how you use the service.

Boom continues: “From day one, when we started talking to the record labels about Amazon Music Unlimited, for us it was all about, there’s a ton of growth left in premium streaming that’s not being tapped into, and we think between our technology as well as our customer base that we have an ability to tap into that. We have a lot of evidence that the customers that we’re bringing into our ecosystem are either new to streaming in the first place, or new to premium streaming. It’s still day one when it comes to what it means to control a music service and have access to a massive catalog and everything you want to do and control it only with your voice.”

Writing about music, listening to music, and occasionally playing music.

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