Amazon’s Music Streaming

Amazon is not one to be left behind. The online retailer recently announced the coming launch of their own online music streaming service, exclusive to their line of echo voice assistant products. The catch? One version of the service would cost up to $5 a month, half of major competitors Spotify and Apple Music (and a quarter of the cost of TIDAL). They’re also working on a full $10/month with features much like competitors: unlimited ad-free listening, playback across multiple devices, and downloads for offline listening.

The $5/month version is raising some eyebrows, though. People seem to enjoy asking exactly why you would need multiple music streaming subscriptions when by and large they have the same content. True, Apple Music and TIDAL have been known to release albums exclusively, but those streaming rights last just for a few weeks at most.

A cheaper option could make a lot of sense for a casual music listener who already has one of the Amazon Echo devices. You’d be playing it through the device itself, which already has a pretty commendable speaker. Is it an audiophile’s dream? No, but it will suffice for someone doing chores around the house.

Cheaper streaming also targets an entirely different demographic— older listeners. Spotify and Apple ads are geared towards a millennial crowd that operates with their phone at the hip. References to The Neverending Story and hard partying nuns, it’s safe to say, aren’t targeted towards boomers or early gen-X’ers. Just under 60% of 50-64 year-olds own a smartphone (compared to 86% of 18-29 year-olds and 83% of 30-49 year-olds) and ownership drops sharply for the 65+ age group. A streaming subscription may be nice in theory, but if you aren’t using a smartphone there really isn’t a way to tap into most of its key features. Maybe unlimited streaming from an easy to use device like echo makes the most sense for these users.