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Amazon's full on-demand streaming music service launches today
Amazon's long-rumored on-demand music streaming service is now available. The company is launching its new service as Amazon Music Unlimited, a on-demand competitor to the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play Music. Amazon has done a number of things to differentiate Music Unlimited from its competitors, but the most notable one is its price: the service will be available to Amazon Prime members for $7.99 per month or $79 per year, which is cheaper than the premium options from Spotify or Apple Music. In addition, owners of one of Amazon's voice-controlled Echo devices will be able to get the service for just $3.99 per month.
At its core, Amazon Music Unlimited is very similar to the other services you could subscribe to. It has a catalog of "tens of millions" of songs (Amazon's Steve Boom tells me it has deals with all three major labels, in addition to "hundreds" of indies); a recommendations engine to surface new music; both algorithmic and hand-made playlists; and apps for Android, iOS, Sonos, and desktop (plus Amazon's Fire tablets and set top boxes). Amazon's new Music apps have been completely redesigned with fresh typography, revised navigation, and a focus on artist imagery and album art. They feature some clever perks, such as the ability to automatically download music Amazon thinks you'd like while in the background, so you'll always have something to listen to while offline, as well as lyrics integration.