If you love streaming music, but don’t like paying a monthly fee for the privilege, you’re about to get a bit more choice.
According to Music Business Worldwide, Amazon is about to launch its own rival to Spotify’s freemium tier, and it could launch as early as today in the United States.
There are a few caveats, according to the report. Firstly, it’ll be locked to Amazon Echo devices. This is intended as a benefit of Echo ownership, rather than a Spotify rival in its own right.
Secondly, this isn’t an ad-filled version of Amazon Music Unlimited, which currently costs £3.99 for a single Echo or £9.99 for a multi-device account. Rather, the report suggests it’ll be a free version of Amazon’s Prime Music which has a much smaller catalogue of tunes for Prime subscribers.
Related: Spotify vs Apple Music
That means this won’t be of much interest to Prime subscribers who won’t be gaining anything new (in some ways they’ll be losing a perk), but it should prove useful to Amazon as a way of encouraging people to take out Prime or a full Music Unlimited subscription. In fact, it’s a fair bet that much of the ads peppering the service will be to tell you to upgrade and remove them.
Ads aside, why would you upgrade? Well, another limitation is that users won’t be able to ask Alexa to play specific tracks. Like the free tier on Spotify, you’ll be limited to shuffling tracks by artists of your choice and so on.
Related: Google Home vs Amazon Echo
While another ad-laden free streaming service may not be the most exciting news for consumers, record industry types seem pleased. Amazon has apparently agreed fresh licencing deals with two major labels for the service with a third on the way. “This is a very exciting development. The music industry seems to be in a good place with Amazon and Apple right now – but less so with Spotify,” an executive told Music Business World.
Will you be giving this new service a spin? Let us know on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.