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Amazon now offers cut-price music

News, 14 October 2016
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SEATTLE: Amazon is extending its reach beyond retail with the launch of a new music-streaming service in the US that stands out from its rivals because of its low price.

The e-commerce giant is entering an already crowded music-streaming market where the likes of Apple Music, Google Play Music and Spotify are established players.

However, Amazon Music Unlimited offers at least one subscription plan for as little as $3.99 a month, the company announced in a statement.

This discounted price is being made available to users of Echo, Amazon's wi-fi speaker system that responds to voice commands, which the company says requires no searching or browsing.

"Now Amazon Music has reimagined music listening on Echo with intuitive new Alexa voice controls that turn your Echo into the ultimate personalized jukebox," Amazon said.

In addition to the low price option for Echo users, Amazon is offering a $7.99 monthly subscription rate for existing Amazon Prime customers that also has the benefit, from Amazon's perspective, of undercutting its rivals. Meanwhile, non-Prime customers can subscribe for $9.99 a month.

Commenting on the price options, Chris Cooke, the business editor of the music industry site CMU, told the BBC that consumers were unable to subscribe to a mid-price service until now.

"At the moment you either use a free streaming service such as Spotify free or YouTube, or pay $10 a month, there's nothing in the middle," he said.

"There has been a big conversation about creating a middle-market, mid-price service. But what would make it better than a free service, but less good than a full paid service? Amazon's answer is to lock it to one device," he added.

"They're hoping that £50 a year will be cheap enough, and people will like it so much that they will subscribe. It's about offering a better range of prices for a bigger range of people – and Amazon already has a massive ready-made audience to sell this to."

Data sourced from Amazon, BBC; additional content by Warc staff

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