In Brief

Prime Music: Amazon enters music-streaming market

Amazon's music streaming-service is cheaper than Apple Music or Spotify, but offers a far smaller library of songs

Online shopping giant Amazon has entered the British streaming audio market with the launch today of Prime Music, a UK service cheaper than Apple Music or Spotify, but with a significantly smaller selection of songs.

The service, available as a free add-on to Amazon Prime subscribers, gives access to a library of one million songs by popular artists including Royal Blood, George Ezra, Paolo Nutini, One Direction and Ella Henderson, as well as classic albums from Bob Dylan, Madonna and David Bowie.

However, there are some "big holes" in Amazon's catalogue, the BBC notes.

"The likes of Amy Winehouse, Abba, Katy Perry, Kanye West and Eminem … are unavailable at launch."

Amazon's collection of one million songs falls far short of market leader Spotify, which offers a music catalogue of 30 million tracks. But Amazon claims that it will be updating its music collection "all the time".

Use of music streaming services has more than doubled over the past year. According to figures from the Official Chart Company, British music fans streamed a record 500 million songs last week.

"Consuming music is evolving and we want to maintain pace with that evolution," Amazon UK's head of music, Paul Firth told the BBC.

As well as streaming music, membership to Amazon Prime also offers one-day delivery to most parts of the UK, one-hour delivery on certain items within London, photo storage, access to 15,000 movies and TV shows through Prime Instant Video, and a library of 800,000 books to borrow from the Kindle owners’ lending library.

The service costs £79, but Amazon may have a long way to go before matching its streaming rival Spotify, which boasts 60 million members worldwide – more than Tidal, Deezer, Rdio, Rhapsody and Google Play combined, The Guardian notes. Amazon is notoriously tight-lipped about how many Prime subscribers it has, but in January the company confirmed that the figure was higher than 20 million.

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