Everything You Need to Know About Amazon Music

With the plethora of music streaming platforms available, it’s no surprise that Amazon has its very own in its vast kingdom of services. While Amazon Music may not be the first option that comes to mind when thinking about music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, you might be pleasantly surprised by its impressive library of 100 million songs, high-resolution and spatial audio options, extensive podcast collection, seamless integration with Alexa voice control, and user-friendly interface.

What is Amazon Music?

Amazon Music is a music streaming service that rivals the likes of Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube Music, Tidal, and Deezer. It boasts a library of over 100 million songs, as well as a wide selection of popular podcasts that can be streamed or downloaded for offline listening. Like its competitors, Amazon Music allows users to access a vast collection of current and back-catalog songs and albums. Users can also create and share their own playlists. Additionally, the service utilizes your listening habits to provide personalized recommendations for new artists, albums, curated playlists, and podcasts.

For audiophiles, Amazon Music offers plan tiers for high-resolution lossless audio, known as HD and Ultra HD. This is a notable feature, as Spotify currently does not offer this option.

What Plans are Available and What Do You Get?

Amazon Music Free

If you’re looking to dip your toes into the world of Amazon Music, the ad-supported Amazon Music Free plan is a great starting point. You don’t need an Amazon Prime subscription to access this tier. Although it does have some limitations, such as limited playback options and no access to lossless HD or Ultra HD formats, it still provides access to millions of podcast episodes, thousands of playlists and stations, all without requiring your credit card information.

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Amazon Music Prime

For those who want to enjoy the service without ads, Amazon Music Prime is the way to go. If you’re already an Amazon Prime subscriber or considering becoming one, this plan is absolutely free. In addition to ad-free access to the extensive 100-million-song library, podcasts, stations, and playlists, you’ll also have the option to download music for offline playback. Note that this tier only allows playback on one device at a time, unless you’re listening to downloaded music that’s stored on your device. However, there are certain limitations when it comes to playback modes for Echo devices, Fire TV, and Fire Tablet, as well as the lack of access to HD, Ultra HD, and spatial audio options.

Amazon Music Unlimited

For the ultimate music streaming experience, Amazon Music Unlimited is the way to go. This plan offers everything available in the Amazon Music Prime plan but removes limitations on playback and song selection. It also focuses on delivering exceptional sound quality. With access to over 100 million songs in lossless HD format, as well as millions of tracks in Ultra HD, you can enjoy crystal-clear audio that rivals competitors like Tidal and Apple Music. Additionally, there are over a thousand tracks mastered in Dolby Atmos Music and 360 Reality Audio for immersive surround sound. Amazon Music Unlimited offers various subscription options to suit different preferences and needs.

Features and Discovery

The Amazon Music interface is intuitive and well-organized, resembling Spotify’s layout in many ways. Whether you’re using the smartphone app, desktop app, or web player, the experience is consistent. One notable difference is the Alexa button found on the smartphone app, allowing you to search and control playback using voice commands. Additionally, you can activate Alexa with the summon command “Alexa” when the app is open.

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The Home page is the gateway to your music, podcasts, search function, and library. It provides a combination of frequently played content and tailored recommendations for easy discovery. For quick and tailored music suggestions, you can rely on the automatically-created radio station playlist called “My Soundtrack,” or explore “My Discovery Mix” for a fresh playlist of new music every Monday.

The Library section is where you’ll find your saved albums, songs, playlists, followed podcast episodes, downloaded music, and more. It can be filtered to suit your preferences.

Playback controls, album artwork, track/album information, and the track’s quality indicator (SD, HD, or Ultra HD) are conveniently located in the minimized playback bar. Tapping the quality indicator reveals detailed information about the track quality and playback capabilities of your device. Swiping right reveals additional details on any Dolby Atmos tracks you’re listening to. Other features easily accessible from the playback window include sharing options, lyrics, and connectivity features for Wi-Fi network speakers, Bluetooth, and AirPlay speakers. You can even enjoy the “X-Ray” feature, which provides interesting facts and content suggestions related to what you’re listening to.

How Much Does Amazon Music Cost?

As is customary with Amazon, there are several subscription options available:

Amazon Music Free:

Free plan that doesn’t require an Amazon Prime subscription, but an account is needed.

Amazon Music Prime:

Included free with an Amazon Prime Membership, which is currently priced at $15 per month or $139 per year. Students can enjoy a special rate of $7.49 per month for up to four years, which also grants access to Prime Video and Prime Gaming.

Amazon Music Unlimited:

This premium plan offers multiple subscription options:

  • Music Unlimited Individual Plan: This plan costs $9 per month/$89 per year (increasing to $10/$99 on September 19) with a Prime membership, or $11 per month without a Prime membership. New subscribers can enjoy a three-month trial before committing.
  • Music Unlimited Family Plan: For $16 per month/$159 per year (rising to $17/$169 in September), this plan allows playback on up to six devices simultaneously. A Prime membership is required.
  • Music Unlimited Student Plan: Students can take advantage of a limited-time offer, with the regular $6 per month student rate reduced to just $1 per month for up to four years.
  • Music Unlimited Single-Device Plan: This plan is specifically designed for Echo and Fire TV devices. It costs $5 per month with a Prime membership but lacks HD or Ultra HD quality, spatial audio, and the ability to download music.
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How Do I Listen to Amazon Music?

You can enjoy Amazon Music on various platforms:

  • Amazon Music desktop app for PC and Mac.
  • iOS and Android devices through the Amazon Music app.
  • Amazon Echo and Fire TV devices.
  • Sonos systems and Roku media streamers.
  • Web browser access.
  • In certain cars via Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.

To fully experience Amazon Music’s spatial audio tracks, you’ll need Dolby Atmos-capable devices such as soundbars, headphones, surround sound systems, iOS and Android devices, and the Amazon Echo Studio speaker. The new Sonos Era 300, set to launch on March 28, 2023, will also support Dolby Atmos Music with Amazon Music.

For the highest-resolution Ultra HD tracks, an external digital-to-analog converter (DAC) may be required. Check out our explainer for more information on DACs.

While Amazon Music does not have a native, built-in equalizer feature like Apple Music or Spotify, you can still enhance your audio experience using headphone apps or EQ features on your car or home stereos. Rest assured, the HD and Ultra HD tracks on Amazon Music Unlimited offer top-notch quality and balanced sound that may make you forget the need for an equalizer.

In Conclusion

Amazon Music is a robust music streaming service that offers a vast library, impressive audio options, friendly user interface, and seamless integration with Alexa voice control. With a variety of subscription plans to choose from, including a free tier and a full-featured premium tier, there’s an option for every music lover. So why not dive into the world of Amazon Music and explore its immense selection of songs, podcasts, and playlists?

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