Amazon is reportedly in talks with the big labels about offering an Ad-Supported Free Music Streaming Service to take on Spotify and Pandora – and it might be launching as early as next week.
Amazon plans to expand its dominance of e-commerce and its inroads into TV and movie streaming available through its Amazon Prime Video service, according to Billboard. The service is rumored to be ad-supported, so it sounds like this won’t be a way to escape Spotify’s famously annoying ads. But this could be a way for customers to listen to music for free without having to shell out for an Amazon Music Unlimited subscription. Sources say Amazon could unveil the Ad-Supported Free Music Streaming Service before the end of April. Spotify is currently the only music streaming platform that markets a free-tier of service (other than internet radio services like Pandora or iHeartRadio).
Amazon currently offers some 2 million songs available free to Echo owners who also pay $119 yearly to subscribe to the company’s Prime for expedited shipping and online music, movies and TV. A more full-featured music offering, Amazon Music Unlimited, is available for $9.99 monthly, or $7.99 monthly for Prime members.
With that said, Amazon doesn’t share numbers on how many customers are currently paying for its music subscription service. It would be hard put to compete right now with Spotify’s over 200 million users, SoundCloud’s 175 million users, or Apple Music’s 50 million users. Estimates are that Amazon has around 16 million users, so they’re clearly looking to increase their market share with this new reportedly free streaming option.