Amazon is reportedly planning to launch a free, ad-supported version of its music streaming service, in an effort to challenge Spotify.
Billboard sources say the company is in talks with rights holders over a plan to market the new tier, through its range of Alexa-powered Echo speakers.
According to the report, there would be a limited catalogue of music available to those using the free service, which is likely to be the same library of content currently offered ad-free to Amazon Prime subscribers.
Those seeking the full library, minus the ads, will still have to fork out $9.99 a month (or $7.99 for Prime Members, or $3.99 to listen only on an Echo) for the Amazon Music Unlimited subscription.
The sources – who say Amazon could launch the new ad-funded platform as soon as next week – also claim Amazon has promised to pay publishers on a per-stream basis, rather than based upon a cut of the advertising revenue.
It’s unclear whether the service would be available only to Echo speaker owners or whether Amazon plans to offer it to everyone through its Music app. Currently, it’s necessary to have a Spotify Premium subscription in order to listen through Alexa, so Amazon may be looking to fill that void.
Should Amazon launch the service more widely, it would likely be targeting those who listen to Spotify Free – the ad-supported tariff currently enjoyed by around 100 million people around the globe. Spotify, of course, would offer the advantage of the entire music catalogue rather than a limited library.
As well as putting additional pressure on Spotify, Amazon’s rumoured launch would also provide another way to stream music for free instead of forking out for Apple Music, which does not offer free music playback.
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