When Amazon released the Echo, they promised to continually make it better. This has come in the form of products you can use the Echo with (for example, dimming the lights via speech), and apps the Echo connects to (for example, I connected to an audio RPG app that let myself and my friends talk through the actions we’d like to take #nerd).
Now, Amazon is looking to bring Echo its own cheap streaming music service.
Industry sources say Amazon would like to launch both services in September, but has yet to finalize deals with major music labels and publishers. One sticking point, sources say, is whether Amazon will sell the cheaper service for $4 or $5 a month.
The lower-priced service would represent a novel approach. Other services have tried, without success, to offer subscriptions in the $5 range. But those have usually been variants of web radio services, which don’t let users play any song they want, whenever they want.
Amazon’s discount service would be different, industry sources say, because it would work like Spotify or Apple Music — unlimited, ad-free music on demand — but it would be constrained to Amazon’s Echo player, and wouldn’t work on phones.
This service would allow you play unlimited music without any ads. This is similar to Spotify except this service would only live on your Echo. You wouldn’t be able to take it along with you on your cell phone or play it from your desktop.
The article points out that this goes against current industry best practices. The assumption is that people want to take their music anywhere and this service would break away from it tremendously.
From a personal perspective, I’m really interested in this service. I mostly listen to music on my Echo and find myself purchasing songs left and right. This would probably save me money overall.
When I listen to music on my laptop, I tend to listen via YouTube. I’ll pull up the music video and let it play in the background. I don’t mess with Spotify or anything else I’d need to download.
In my car, I usually listen to Sirrus/XM or NPR. I say usually because I just accidentally let my XM radio expire.
So to me, this product fits a very specific need I have. I keep buying songs on Amazon because I want to be able to easily listen to them on my Echo.
You can appeal to some other music services on the Echo, but it’s honestly so much easier to just use Amazon’s music library.
I already use Amazon’s curated Prime Playlists which are limited. I’ve heard the Yacht Rock playlist way more times than I want to admit. But this would only open my horizons wider.
Who else is an Echo user? What do you think? I’m especially interested in hearing what people think about the lack of portability.
Hat tip to reader Matt C.