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Amazon Prime Music (amazon.com)
243 points by samiq on June 12, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 166 comments

1. Given my listening habits, the library feels limited. Tried searches for the three albums I listened to the most this month (http://www.last.fm/user/labibrahman/charts):

  Sylvan Esso - Sylvan Esso
  Chet Faker - Built on Glass
  Tycho - Awake
None are available for streaming. For a standalone service, this would be damning. As one of the perks offered with Prime this has the potential to become a compelling part of the package.

2. Amazon's store interface is not well suited for consuming media. I tried watching a few episodes of Friday Night Lights on the service instead of Netflix. Spoilers in episode descriptions meant that I had to very specifically control where I let my eyes over the UI. Next episodes don't auto play. Perhaps most annoyingly, there isn't a standalone URL I could go to for my streaming needs. To watch an episode I had to carry out the following steps:

  Navigate to amazon.com
  Search for Friday Night Lights
  Skim the results to click on the TV show
  Remember what season I was on
  Skim the episode descriptions while avoiding spoilers
  Click to stream, and make sure I don't accidentally click
  on the 1-click buy button which is annoyingly right next
  to the stream button.
My flow on Netflix:

  Navigate to netflix.com
  Click on the continue watching pane on top left corner of my screen.
I want Amazon to be a legitimate competitor in the space, but running everything through the store interface is killing any chance of me using Prime as a media consumption service.

3. I suspect that this works many orders of magnitude better on the Kindle Fire line of devices and that's great for people who already own Kindle Fires. If I don't already own one though, the Prime ecosystem should be driving to make that purchase and right now it is failing at that task.

The standalone URL for the Amazon movie catalog is amazon.com/vod (for video on demand I suppose). That's both prime and non-prime shows.

The UI is a bit weaker now on the website than it used to be. Before it would gray out the episodes you've watched. Now they gray out the background, but only if you've seen enough of the episode for it to "count". There's also a light green bar showing your progress through the episode on the right hand side.

If you use streaming with an app, like the one on the Playstation, you can click on "Your TV Shows", and it will remember which season and episode you watched last. So I click on the show, and it remembers I'm on episode 10. Barring that I try to remember to keep the most reason season on my watchlist (since unlike Netflix, you can add a season to a watchlist rather than a show)

I agree the autoplay is slightly annoying. At best I've figured out there's a "skip" button in the UI to tell it to play the next, but that's still manual.

Thanks for that amazon.com/vod URL -- I have all the same complaints about their interface but at least I can now skip right to the video library.

1 million songs don't sound like a lot; the total number of original songs is something around 20 millions, so 1M <= 5%

Besides, how do they decide what's free as prime and what isn't? My songs aren't free to stream for example


but I wouldn't mind if they were; how do I opt in?

Edit: not 0.5 but 5%!

Where did you get the 20 million figure from? It seems very low. I mean, there are millions of apps on the Apple AppStore. Surely, after decades of creation, there must be tens of millions of albums, and an order of magnitude more songs?

Until extremely recently, it's been near impossible to get people to listen to your album without it being in a store. These stores have traditionally had gatekeepers in the form of record labels. It doesn't seem that low if the question is "how many songs have been written under record labels which have access to the stores".

Gracenote claims to have more than 130 millions of songs in his database.

Source: meta field "description" at https://www.gracenote.com/company/faq/

18 million on Spotify/Rdio (5 months ago). "Over 37 million" on the itunes store (per apple's website).

Note: The 18MM on Spotify aren't all available to you. They count all songs in their catalog, and many are limited to specific regions (e.g. Europe-only).

I suspect the same is true for iTunes (but I'm not sure)

How is 1M a 0.5% of 20M?

err 5%

I had the same result looking for my recent most-played bands. From what I've found so far, the only artists I like for whom they have good coverage are Dave Matthews Band and Pearl Jam. So I guess you're in luck if you love the '90s.

Even the "popular artists" list that they're pimping on the front page is more striking for what's missing than what's there. They don't have the vast, vast majority of REM's discography (including "Automatic for the People"!), most of Pink's albums, anything by Cher besides "Believe", literally any of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' albums that you would have heard of (seriously, why are they even listed?), Shakira's "Laundry Service", "Oops!…I Did It Again" by Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake's second album — and that was just glancing around as I wrote this paragraph. The most confounding part is that there doesn't seem to be a rhyme or reason to what they have or don't have.

Very few R.E.M. albums? Sign me up!

> one of the perks offered with Prime

Just remember that the price of prime is going up $40 a year and part of that new $40/year you are paying is for this. As with many of the perks that Prime gets you it feels like it isn't very good, but it feels "free" so it is hard to complain much.

My fear would be that there are a lot of people that will be okay with Amazon Prime services that are not very good just because they got them for "free" thus stopping new companies from attempting to get in on the same market.

In the US it's going up $20, from $80 to $100.

I've already resolved to cancel my Prime subscription, and this reveal just confirms my decision. I was happy with getting free 2-day shipping for $40 (or even $80) a year. I'm not happy paying $100 for a less robust "2-day shipping" service, a crappy VOD service, and a music streaming service with none of the music I listen to.

I'm with you. Prime was great for "free" delivery for the physical items I purchased from Amazon.

However, Prime Video is not something I can use. In short, does it work on Linux? No. Therefore, the price increase for no apparent benefit has now priced me out of this product.

Pardon me, but could you expand on "a less robust '2-day shipping' service"? I'm not aware of what you're talking about and would like to know, as I'm currently a Prime customer as well.

They've removed a number of items from Prime, and now left them in a strange limbo of "Add-on items" which can only ship with $25+ orders.

I've also had a significant portion of my orders take well over two business days to arrive, even with Prime shipping.

It went up $20 right, is there another increase scheduled?

Edit: sorry $20, not $40 (I was remembering the initial rumors of the price going up to $120)

And Chet Faker: http://www.amazon.com/Thinking-textures-Chet-Faker/dp/B009WJ...

I think the trick is: search as normal for music, then click the 'Prime Eligible' checkbox. It didn't show up otherwise.

It's even more weird: it's not albums that are available or not, it's individual songs. An album I've been listening to while I work out: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004ZTL5Q0/ref=sr_1_1_rd?ie...

Blast Tyrant by Clutch. 3 songs from the original album plus one more from the extended album. This isn't an album where there's only two or three good songs, they're all solid gold if you like the genre. And I certainly wouldn't pick The Regulator as one of the top three songs; Ghost feels very similar but IMO has more going for it. So how did The Regulator get picked?

--I must have pissed someone off because I feel I'm being followed around and all of my posts downvoted for no reason at all. Please explain.

Also no subtitle support.

But it does remember what episode you are on, the ones that are bold are ones you haven't seent.

> Next episodes don't auto play.

There are actually some very strict legal requirements preventing streaming-video services from providing "linear content" (i.e. anything that works like a TV channel.) Anyone that seems to do so (e.g. Netflix) still stops every few episodes to get you to press a button to continue.

Happily, this is entirely irrelevant to within-home streaming. Plex can auto-play for as long as you like.

I've worked in the online video streaming industry and I've never heard of such a restriction. I have heard of such restrictions for music streaming, however. (i.e. to be a "radio" service, a.la Pandora, you cannot have a predictable linear playlist).

Even if you have "auto-play", this is vastly different than the "scheduled content" of traditional TV.

Netflix stops every few episodes because there are per-stream costs, whether bandwidth or licensing (it's a waste to leave shows playing all night while someone's left their computer).

I have created plenty of playlists w/ Spotify that are very predictable and I often play them in a linear fashion.

I've done the same w/ YouTube, but since they have such a wide array of disappearing content; they playlists aren't very predictable in the long-term.

> i.e. to be a "radio" service

> I have created plenty of playlists w/ Spotify

Spotify isn't and doesn't claim to be a radio service. They provide one, but it's a feature, not their premise.


I'd always assumed Netflix required that user behavior on their end to avoid serving content that wasn't actively being consumed so I'm surprised to find that it's a licensor requirement.

They will require you to click on a "continue" button every once in a while if you have no interaction with the HTPC and it's doing auto-play. Perhaps once every hour or two - only slightly annoying.

Pretty sure Hulu happily autoplays all day long.

ya and you pay money to watch commercials

The UX for this is very awkward (unless I'm missing something) - the "store" and the "player" are completely disjoint experiences with only a few marketing links between them. You can't actually add new (free) "Prime Music" to your collection from the player - you have to jump to the "store" to discover the music you want and add it to your cloud library. Nor can you play full songs from the "store", even if you have Prime and they are free - you are limited to 30 second samples.

The amazing thing about Rdio and Spotify, and what makes streaming services different than their MP3 purchasing predecessors, is that you can think "I want to listen to Kanye", type "Kanye" in to the search bar, press enter and listen. Amazon is making this whole process very awkward by adding a "buy" step (even if no money is changing hands).

The reason that Spotify is disruptive isn't that the music is paid for via subscription pricing - it's that it eliminates the distinction between "music I own" and "all of the music ever recorded".

It is no better than their Amazon Instant Video. Their video offering is pretty terrible. Takes ages to move between menus. You cannot just continue from where you were previously. It doesn't skip the credits and offer the next episode. The whole thing is painful to use compared to Netflix.

Another example. Yesterday I was looking for a TV show I was watching. I went into "Your TV Shows" and it wasn't there. It had been pushed out by other shows I watched. Instead it appeared in "Recently Watched." It is so unintuitive.

I have a prime account. I wouldn't mind cancelling Netflix and Spotify but can't while the user experience offered by Amazon is so horrible.

Amazon's UX on Prime Instant on the PC is so terrible, their discoverability on ANY platform is awful, and they have restricted HD streaming of Prime content (i.e., stuff you don't have to buy) to non-PC platforms only. And I've had far more problems with buffering on Prime Instant on Xbox 360 than I have ever had with Netflix, despite watching roughly five times as much content on Netflix. It's ridiculous.

Their music offering looks like more of the same. Lower selection, poor discoverability, a second-class UI on PC. I really wish Amazon would stop re-purposing their storefront UI for every product they can, and actually design a decent UI for their various products.

We access Amazon Prime Video through the Roku, and I can't believe it's any better than on the PC because it's awful.

While I like their site for shopping, etc., their content delivery UIs leave much to be desired.

> You cannot just continue from where you were previously. Wrong. There is a resume button.

Exactly. And, if you don't already have the Cloud Player application on your computer, you're shown nothing and told to sign up online. No link, no further explanation.

Okay, except you can't actually sign up online. Searching through Amazon and Google, you may eventually discover you need to download another application, which of course requires you to enter separate credit card information from that Amazon already has on file for your Prime membership, download a downloader, then use that to download the music application, which may finally allow you to sign up to use the service for which you are supposed to be already paying for (e.g. Prime).

I'd say that fairly well qualifies as the worst possible "new" user experience. I mean that quite literally; it appears to have been optimized at each and every step to be as bad as is possible given current limitations. Well played, Amazon; I expect total music dominance within the quarter.

What's scaring me is the ease of polluting my library: sure I want to listen to lots of free* music, but I also want to not dilute my paid-for collection of Good Stuff™ with Cheap Crap™ in the process. Same problem exists with e-books: good & paid content gets lost amid the briefly attractive titles downloaded by the hundreds (thousands?). Physical media at least forces you to address limited storage space by chucking/relocating the cruft.

(* - yes, it's $99/yr)

This is seriously a usability disaster. I have to go through the normal Amazon store to add music to my prime library? I have to leave the player to find music to listen to? No thank you.

Their iOS app seems to be a much better experience than the web site, where I kept getting accidentally shunted to the "digital music" department where the prime music wasn't highlighted.

The Windows Desktop app is much better as it's all in one place (like the iOS app). However you still have to "add" the music to play it.

The Amazon store UI is poorly suited for this task.

Additionally, the player URL (http://cloudplayer.amazon.com) prompts me to install Flash, something I've been unwilling to do for years now.

I can't believe they launched something this big with that UI. If they had an app comparable to that of Spotify on mobile and desktop, so many people would have jumped right on it.

You'd think "useful search" would be a vital part of the Amazon website but look how terrible search is.

"Sort by price, please, Amazon." "Sure, here's a $10 item and a $5 item and a $50 item! Yay sorting!"

>I have to leave the player to find music to listen to?

You don't. cloudplayer.amazon.com -> type in search -> look at right-hand side.

Nope. This is also a disaster. I typed "daft punk" into that box. Daft Punk has four full albums available for prime music. None of those albums are in the search results. Instead I get a "Daft Punk's Top So..." playlist, and "Hot, Sweaty Summ..." playlist, and "Janelle Monáe and Mo..." playlist.

I can't fault free new music, but this interface feels like it was poorly bolted on to a retail sales website, which is exactly how the web video service has always felt.

Edit: I just realized that 3 of the albums are in the search results. I turns out the right tab is scrollable, and after 15 items, it switches to showing matching albums, which includes 3 of the 4 Daft Punk albums, and also some Macklemore.

I didn't notice this because nothing I was looking for ever actually showed up there (even though it is available through Prime Music).

Well this product is dead on arrival


I just discovered that as well. And it just so happens that 3 of the songs by the artist I wanted were all non-prime. Very lame.

Dead on arrival? How? Why is there the expectation that every song in an album would be free under Prime?

"This free music is lame because it's not the music I wanted for free?"

Do you tell stores their free samples suck because you wanted a free sample of a different product?

I don't know how many people are like me, but the atomic unit of listening to music for me is an ALBUM, not a SONG.

So, for people like me, to try to explain to people like you...

Why is there the expectation that every second in a song would be free under Prime?

You shouldn't attempt to put people into groups before you know which groups people would belong to.

Sure, I understand, there are many albums that I enjoy in the entirety and not so much with individual songs.

You can always buy the albums.

As for you question, such a thing already exists; they are called samples.

Right! It's a FREE!! music sampling service that costs $100/year where you can hear a few selected songs in their entirety, but only through a spammy web app. AWESOME!

I guess you would be right if you were paying $100 a year just for the music.

But, in a way, you are right; it isn't free. Just heavily subsidized is probably a better word for it.

You and I have exceedingly different definitions of "free." It's not even ad-sponsored free like basic Spotify is, it's a full-on paid product that comes bundled with other paid products. So the price of Amazon Prime (which just went up) reflects this half-baked music streaming service. I'm paying for this, as is everyone else posting complaints about it (because only paid Prime members can access it).

Good point, I should change the question to why is there an expectation that every song be accessible to Prime members without an extra charge?

I just don't understand the negativity towards this service because it isn't exactly what some people want. I see it as a bonus to a service I already gladly pay for. If it doesn't have every song that I would want, so what? I have access to more stuff then I did before at the same cost.

Well, I would guess:

1) Because it's like Spotify, but worse. It's not even like Amazon Prime Instant, which offers different content from Netflix, so the two can function like compliments. It's simply just a worse version of Spotify.

2) I don't have the numbers on this, but I suspect that a large portion of Amazon's Prime subscribers have a subscription to Spotify, or Google All-Access, or Beats, or something in that market segment. (And I'm guessing that probability goes up among HN commenters.) If you do, you gain nothing and lose quite a bit from switching outright to Amazon's service, so you can't swap your current streaming service for this. There's no value-add for you.

3) This is the first major feature for Prime that Amazon has rolled out since the price hike a few months ago. So nobody is viewing this as free, or close to. Everyone is looking at this as "what they're spending the price hike on." And it's so far behind the competition.

4) The really limited selection combined with the really terrible discoverability means that everyone trying it out for the first time is going to have a much easier time finding music Prime doesn't have streaming fee than they are finding music it does have streaming free. It's almost like a service designed with the intention of making you discover its pain points as quickly as possible.

Interesting. While I'm finding albums and artists to be a bit scarce, the ones I've been testing (so far Barenaked Ladies and the Crash Test Dummies) haven't had that issue of only some songs being free.

Prime subscriber here. Cool beans. I found some of my favorites.

But I also found a lot of spammy crap. I searched for Smashing Pumpkins, and it's pages of "1979 [A Tribute to the Smashing Pumpkins]" or "Disarm [In The Style Of The Smashing Pumpkins]". It takes some work to figure out, no, they don't actually have them.

I'm reminded of Steve Jobs's line with the introduction of the iTMS:

"This number [of songs] could have easily been much higher, if we wanted to let in every song. But we realize record companies do a great service. They edit!"

Here's hoping they can grow their library, but in the meantime, please don't give me piss when I search for rain.

But I thought keeping record companies as the gatekeepers was bad?

I'd rather I decide for myself if I like a song or not and not a corporate business decision maker decide for me before I have a chance to hear it.

Same reason I prefer iBooks over Kindle: the store is sensibly curated, not polluted with vague resemblances, knock-offs, and (worst) proliferation of really bad OCR conversions.

Note that this only applies to US Amazon Prime accounts.

If you are an Amazon Prime customer in another region, Amazon will ignore that and ask you to start another Amazon Prime subscription. But I doubt your second Prime account will actually come with any of the advertised benefits.

Which, for an international company with accurate knowledge of my billing address, is misleading and hamfisted.

Got surprised as well to see that they were proposing me subscribe to Prime when I have been a Prime member for more than a year. Realised that I was on the US website, and the music streaming does not seem to be accessible for UK customers.

Isn't anyone interested in owning their music anymore? Have we all become such casual consumers of music that the concept of building a permanent library of music they like is unnecessary?

I will never understand the appeal of subscription music services.

Casual consumers? Before Spotify, I basically only listened to music in my car, and then I just stuck the top 40 station on and dealt with the crap. Now, in 3 years on Spotify, I've listened to more than 10k distinct songs on 2.5k albums from 2k artists. I've gone from US top 40 to music from all around the world. In the last month, I have listened to artists from the US, Germany, Western Sahara, Ivory Coast, Mali, Senegal, Belgium, Sierra Leone, Brazil, Turkey, Norway, India and China. I've listened to new releases and music from artists who have been dead for 60 years. I've curated numerous playlists for myself and others, and have become known as someone with broad and unusual tastes. I am constantly seeking out new and interesting music. Basically, I've become obsessed.

Spotify has enabled a degree of discovery and curation that is simply not possible for anyone without access to an insanely good record store and/or really, really deep pockets. I cannot imagine any reason to ever go back. If Spotify ever goes under or removes an artists I really like, I can always buy it then. But until then, I will happily pay my $10/month and keep using Spotify as my sole source of music. Frankly, I think Spotify is the cheapest thing I have ever spent money on when compared to the value it provides.

Even if I could afford to own all my Spotify music, I would have to be responsible for backing it up and moving it between devices or into the cloud. So I would get less value for 10-100x more money. And this figure isn't even counting the value of the discovery service that Spotify provides. If I meet someone from halfway across the world, I can ask for musical recommendations, and then listen to them in my car on the way home.

Honestly, I don't understand how you can seriously explore music without Spotify.

Music blogs, last.fm, live music, automated recommendations from wherever you buy music, etc. Discovering new music has never been an issue for people who don't use Spotify.

Except how do you decide whether it's worth spending the money to buy it when you can't listen to it fully until you buy it?

But here's the thing. Back in the 80s and early 90s, I amassed a very large music collection on cassette. Some of it copied from friends, lots of it picked up from used record shops, and some even paid full price for. Some of the finest butt rock heavy metal ever produced was in that collection.

Then I bought a CD player and started building the collection again. Not surprisingly, the new collection contained different stuff. Not much at all overlapped with the old collection. When I moved, I didn't bother bringing the tapes (or the records that preceded them).

Now I have a pretty good collection of music on .mp3. Some of it is ripped from those old CDs, but a lot less than you'd think. Those CDs are in storage, somewhere, I think. Every once in a while I find a stack of them and do a kind of "yeah, hey, It's the motherf'ing D.R.E... Those were good times." before putting them back.

So I think the idea with subscription services is that they handle the case where your tastes change. If I were the king of guy that really wanted to keep blasting the same Judas Priest album that marked music's perfection back in 1987 today, I could see the point of hoarding music.

But then I'd probably need to go find another black Trans Am (yes, with T-tops & screaming eagle on the hood, just like the Bandit had) to blast it from.

Times change though, and people move on. For a guy with $10 a month in his pocket and the ability to put pragmatism ahead of sentimentality, streaming music services actually do make a lot of sense.

To buy the amount of music I listen to on Spotify would cost hundreds of pounds each month, so I prefer to subscribe for £10. I can still buy the obscure/local/unsigned music I want to listen to that isn't available on there.

To me the idea of owning music is tied to the need for physical media, which we don't have any more. We don't worry about owning TV shows for example because they weren't traditionally broadcast that way.

Indeed. I've listened to music from over 2500 different albums on Spotify (thank you, Last.fm). Back in the days of $15 albums and no way to buy individual songs this would have cost me $37,500. With $1 track purchases, things get a little more reasonable. I've listened to around 10000 distinct tracks, so now I'm only spending 80 years worth of Spotify premium for the music I've consumed in 2-3 years on Spotify.

Of course, this ignores the fact that there's no way I could have discovered all the music I listen to without Spotify. Even if I knew of all the artists I listen to on Spotify, I could never possibly have found all their music in physical form. And if I had to purchase all the music I listened to separately, I never would have been willing to explore so much.

I totally hear you; I have around a half terabyte of albums (and complete discographies for my favorite artists), and I physically control the devices that actually store the bits, because that's how I like it.

But still, I fuck around with streaming services (the ones that work here in Japan, anyway) as a way to explore newer music -- the best of which ultimately ends up in my permanent collection.

You can do both.

You're not alone. My blood congeals at the idea that access to the music I love is somehow restricted by a third party with a different agenda to mine. I have zero interest in a third party streaming service. Now, if I could install my very own self-hosted Spotify-alike, stick all my music on there, and stream it to my devices with a smooth wireless connection that works even when I'm in tunnels, then you've got me as a streaming music customer.

I'm the complete opposite. I'm a bit of a tinkerer, so my hardware and OS are transient (flash a new build every 3 months). Instead of migrating data, my habits have instead slowly evolved to using SAAS. Don't get me wrong, I have a NAS drive somewhere with a load of music/movies on, but I just don't touch it anymore. It's easier to open up a browser and sign-in to grooveshark or google play.

You can do that with Subsonic: http://www.subsonic.org/pages/index.jsp

skip Subsonic and migrate to Plex. I do have a paid subscription because I love the software so much, but here's why it's so great:

The media server can run on Windows, Mac, and Linux, so I have it set up on my web server. You can then use a client on Windows, Mac, iOS, or the web browser to stream music, photos, and movies. You can also share your library with other Plex users, so if you have libraries that are always online, consuming media from iOS for you and your friends can feel very much like your own private Netflix (and Rdio/grooveshark)

It truly is the smoothest way to stream your own media, I've tried them all.


How's the caching on the iPhone? Can I stick a bunch of FLACs and others on Plex, then open them with the (paid) Plex Pass subscription client, then cache them on there, and play them wherever?

Big fan of Plex but haven't used the music features yet. How reliable is the metadata fetching? Or do you just point it to an iTunes library file?

Both Amazon and Google let you import your existing libraries and stream them.

I'm a prime member, have been for a while. I just tried to import my library, it said I had 250 songs I could import for free. It then asked me if I'd like to pay $25 to upgrade so I can import any number of songs. I was able to upload all my songs to google for free.

Dang. Didn't realize that Amazon charged you past a certain number of songs. I have my whole library uploaded to Google as well. I usually use spotify, but it comes in handy sometimes (like when I want to listen to the Beatles).

What is the point of uploading music I own to a cloud service so I can stream it later, wasting my precious mobile data? My phone has gigabytes of storage and I can transfer thousands of tracks in seconds.

Convenience. I have like 150 gigabytes of music. I can't put all of that on my phone and even if I just put a subset on there I'd have to re-load it every time I get a new phone. What if I want to play the music out of whatever laptop or tablet I happen to be using at the time? Also, I don't have to worry about my hard drive dying. Also, Google lets you save the music to your phone so you don't have to use mobile data.

The old version of Cloud Drive was pretty much that (except it was hosted on Amazon).

Before Cloud Drive, I used Subsonic, which is self hosted. Though it never really worked all that well.

Well, I don't really "own" my music in a legal sense, although I do own some licenses to music as well as some plastic discs and flash chips that store digital copies of music.

I do have the same intuition that you do that subscription music services are unsatisfying, but I think the line is starting to blur. I use iTunes almost exclusively as my music library, through iTunes Match and my own iTunes purchases. Other than the songs that happen to be cached on my devices, this is not physically any more permanent or "owned" than a subscription service like Spotify. Granted, I can download and backup music from iTunes, but that's an additional step that most people presumably don't do. (I do keep fairly recent backups of my music, and much of my especially cherished music is backed up from CDs, though I refuse to purchase physical media these days.)

I pay deezer 6$/month and can download the tracks on my flash drive or stream. The library is large enough that I never missed a song.

Never heard about Deezer before. Sounds like a good deal, but apparently it's not available in the United States, and I really don't feel like fiddling with proxies in order to bypass that.

I use Deezer (a music subscription service) and I get serious usage out of it. Sure, I don't own music anymore, but that's because it seems so unnecessary.

The classical collection seems to be small. For example, 24098 out of 658027 (3.7%) pop albums are prime, but only 894 of 171251 (0.5%) classical albums are prime. I expected the other way (wishfully, as a fan of classical music), that older less popular music is cheaper to be made prime for Amazon. Strange.

Isn't the classical also cheaper to license?

Not sure. The consumers of it are generally wealthier so it has always been a "premium" market, even if smaller. The fact that much of it is out of copyright doesnt mean you dont have to pay performance rights...

Makes sense. I also find myself primarily listening to classical music, and, as a side note, I hate that apps like Shazam, Google, and SoundHound can't recognize most of it.

It's not just those services and apps, it's pretty much anything that has to do with music.

Try rippig classical CDs and you quickly discover how bad the online music registries are at identifying albums, how bad ripping software is at sorting out composer from artist, etc.

In nearly all aspects of software dealing with music, classical is the odd man out. It's a constant frustration.

The search is also terrible, eg Spotify does not understand the semantics of composer vs performance, so although it has a lot it is very hard to find.

Wow. This is outstanding. Amazon is solidly developing a one-stop centralized base of entertainment. Even more enticing is that it's free with prime, and even if you don't have prime, it's worth getting prime for: a small fee for a year's access to most music/films you could want. And then you have prime, which makes it much more enticing to buy products on Amazon (due to cheaper, faster delivery). Smart.

(I am aware that Amazon's music library is currently not as large as that of its competitors. I think it is reasonable to assume that this will change in the near future.)

The more significant thing to note here is that the general trend in online businesses (obvious examples will include Google, Apple, and Facebook) is that every business is trying to create its own walled garden --- they try to provide all the services that any user could need, such that the user would not do business with any competitors, and so the user would interface with the business as much as possible. Apple did a remarkably good job at this with iTunes back in the day --- they were the first to provide access to a massive online store of entertainment and to integrate it very heavily with their products.

Amazon, however, is taking the cake in this respect. Their products are extremely well-integrated: www.amazon.com is gradually becoming a one-stop-destination for most media and for general shopping. Perhaps this is due to Amazon's perseverance: I've never seen Amazon weaken its hold on a particular share of any market.

Do you really think so? I find Amazon Instant Video to be a distant also-ran to Netflix, and this music service is vastly inferior to literally every other one I have tried.

Amazon Prime has a solid video library, even compared to Netflix - or at least, it does in the UK. It's amazing how they're screwing it up on the positioning/awareness front though.

Only a few years ago, I was a convinced LoveFilm customer (Amazon bought LoveFilm in 2011) and only used Netflix on free trials. Oh how times have changed: since rebranding to Instant Video from LoveFilm, their base has dropped even further, and while everyone I speak to has at least heard of Netflix, nearly nobody is aware that their Amazon Prime membership also includes video.

And now with music, they don't even have a good library? Psssh.

That's very interesting. I wonder if this is a regional issue. I've heard before that Netflix is much less awesome in a lot of countries than it is here in the US, but I'd never heard about how Amazon was doing overseas. I suppose since Amazon bought a UK-based Netflix competitor, it makes sense for them to support the UK better.

I'm sure LoveFilm's existing content deals must have helped. There used to be a site called Oric which tried to make it easier for people to find the content they want to watch online legally, which was easy to scrape to compare. Now I have to rely on a dodgy mix of sites like http://netflix.maft.co/, http://netflixukcompletelist.blogspot.co.uk/, http://uk.istreamguide.com/, paired with import.io and trawling Amazon's prime video site.

Most of the time I want to watch something, it's on Amazon, not on Netflix. Which is a shame since their video player is vastly inferior.

> I've never seen Amazon weaken its hold on a particular share of any market.

I can see AWS being squeezed by outfits like Digital Ocean and Linode on the low end and Google Compute/App Engine on the high end. Anecdotally, I used to run some servers on AWS but moved them to DO & Linode as they're cheaper, faster & simpler.

AWS is a ecosystem.

While I agree you point that on the lower end Amazon will lose some of its hold to the more cost-effective solution providers, IMHO, it is not facing that much pressure from GAE/GCE, for the reason that the latter is yet to provide a list of service that is as comprehensive AWS's.

https://cloud.google.com/products/ http://aws.amazon.com/

My previous project is about a data warehouse solution using Amazon Redshift. The whole stack is host on AWS: S3 for logs, EMR for ETL then Redshift for ingestion, job flow orchestrated using DataPipeline. One stand solution, work seamlessly. It really makes me appreciate the vastness and integration of AWS as a whole.

Yeah, DigitalOcean and Linode are great if you just wanna run some servers. But AWS is much, much more than that.

It is; I just spent the last two weeks putting together a very handsome CloudFormation template that can attest to that. I'm almost considering creating a custom CF resource provider to let me spawn DigitalOcean droplets, though.

(And to let me use CloudFlare CDN distributions instead of CloudFront ones. Amazon need to either finish CloudFront, or kill it; this purgatorial state where it works but it takes 30 minutes to make any changes, and where only half of its APIs are exposed in the SDK libraries, is obnoxious.)

I love CloudFormation, but, unfortunately, it's much neglected, doesn't support latest features, and is completely missing major services. The language is so primitive, I had to write custom extensions that compiles to their format. Another rarely used, but very power service is SWF - I bet CF is built entirely on top of it.

Amazon's not making their money on random individual users, and companies aren't jumping to migrate away from it. AWS is way more than just a VPS provider.

Seems like the library is a little limited. As of tonight (2014-06-11 23:19 PST), two of the top songs on Rdio and Spotify are "Problem' by Ariana Grande and "Fancy" by Iggy Azalea. Neither are available on Prime Music, only for purchase on the normal MP3 Store. I suppose the advantage is a lot of people already have Prime, but I don't see any reason to jump ship from either Rdio or Spotify for this.

If this can match spotify's catalog any time soon, AND be available as an app or (usable) mobile site, ad free: RIP music services. This is an enticing offer for those on the fence about prime, given that spotify premium is $120 a year. For the same price, you get prime, spotify, a bit of netflix/hulu (hopefully more to come on the video end).

Pretty brilliant move.

For the price, this is a really good deal. However, some people (like me) have over 200+ spotify playlists with over 100 songs, and 20+ ones that I actively use.

If they want to capture spotify's market share, just having a large enough catalog wouldn't cut it. They need a easy way to convert the spotify library into their apps.

Maybe they will introduce Amazon Second, which for $5.99/mo will offer larger streaming catalog. :)

The catalog isn't there yet. I'm getting about a 50% hit rate on assorted genres from a variety of artists that I don't feel are particularly obscure, stuff that Pandora plays for me and Spotifiy has in their catalog.

Hopefully this changes and Amazon can add even more value to my Prime subscription.

This has the same problems that I have with Prime Video:

1) The interface is rather horrid when compared to services in the same category, like Netflix. Others have already expounded on this though, so I won't waste the bytes.

2) I hate, hate, HATE being told I have access to all these movies/songs, only to find that the content I searched for isn't available to stream unless I pay extra money on top of the service I already have. Logically I say that it's better to have extra options- but I've never gotten as mad at Netflix for not having what I want to watch as I've gotten at Amazon for having what I want to watch, but needing to pay extra.

Interesting, I've have had the exact opposite experience for #2. If there's a movie, or TV show that I want to watch I'd rather pay $5 to watch it than just be told it's not available. This has had such a strong effect on me that if there's something in particular I want to watch I go to Amazon before Netflix simply because I know I will more likely have an option to watch what I want (even if it costs money). Personally I feel like Netflix has back themselves into a corner by only having one all-inclusive price level.

That said the part about Amazon that infuriates me is when they have the movies available but not for rent and only offer the pay $15 to own option. Also the Netflix discovery/browse is experience is light years better than Amazon's.

In addition to the music that's available via Prime, they have an "auto-rip" feature that automatically adds to your music library any tracks from physical CDs that you've purchased from Amazon in the past. Very nice.

Sometimes the price for the CD's with auto-rip is cheaper than the MP3 only price. Quite strange.

I am sure it has to do with contracts and apple. "No one can sell the MP3 cheaper than we sell it".. but no mention of a CD + autorip.

Or thats how I ended up with a frozen CD that cost -$.50

It costs $10 per month for on-demand streaming of 16 million songs in Rhapsody. By that calculation, this offer would cost $7.5 annually. So it's a smart move for Amazon to lure people to Prime by sacrificing small fraction of revenue.

I'm a user of Rhapsody for almost 13 years now and love it not having to buy individual 100s of artists I listen to. Amazon's 1 million song collection is peanuts for me but for most others it might be enough. I see we are now only few months away from true commoditization of music business (i.e. pay monthly subscription to use all you want like electricity and water).

Limited selection like Prime Instant Video, but at least it's available on Android (although the app doesn't seem to support the new service yet and is butt-ugly). On a side note, I don't really get why Amazon is twisting our arms and doesn't offer Instant Video on Android outside of Google TV and Kindle Fire. I care less about their free videos, but I've purchased digital content and I'm not able to watch it on my Android tablet. Do they really think they can make me buy Kindle Fire just for that?

This is most interesting for me. They are deliberately withholding an android app for streaming video, but they are dipping their toes in with streaming music.

They just updated their Amazon Music app in the Play Store. It's a complete revamp!

I am a USA prime account holder with an account that was renewed in January of this year (2014). I was curious why the amazon prime music page indicated I needed to upgrade my account, so, I clicked 'upgrade for 99 dollars'.

It went ahead and renewed my prime account with today's date, and sent me a new welcome email.

It's completely unclear if it has consumed my previous subscription with over half a year left.

So be cautious... probably I did not read enough!

My edit expired - Here is the deal. A person can share Amazon Prime with other people - family, friends, etc - but the primary benefits such as this music are available to only the primary email address holder. So when I said 'upgrade account', even though the Verify Prime indicated Active, it was not active for music. The upgrade button instantly charges 99 dollars.

I would ask support about that, Amazon seems to be usually adept at handling such service calls. They handled our complaints in the past that were similar to this quite nicely.

> Over a million songs and hundreds of playlists.

This line reads like it's by Rhapsody in 2002.

I was actually pretty excited about this because they happen to have a lot of music I listen to (electronic). I loaded up about two dozen albums and downloaded their Android MP3 app. Tried to play a track and was told the track was no longer Prime eligible. The whole album grayed out and when accessed says "We're sorry but this album is no longer available in Amazon's catalog".

Searched for a number of things unsuccessfully then found that Neil Young is on it. Okay, tried to play "Harvest" and it refused. The previews for the same album work, but only after letting the Flash widget run (I use flashblock). The Prime videos use Silverlight, so that was never an issue. I can't find a widget hiding anywhere for the prime music, so I'm guessing that's a bug on their part. Or maybe I have it all wrong. Not going to waste time debugging their issues.

Has anyone tried the amazon lending library? Absolute rubbish. At least this has Neil Young, but the problem is, you have to have nearly everything for it to work. And also you're competing with this:


Tried it on Chrome/Linux. Audio appears to be played through a flash plugin (noted since I have "click to enable plugins" set). Checking the debugger, the service seems to use HTTP Live Streaming/m3u8 with 10-second, 400k mp2ts chunks.

Digging a touch further, chunks are apparently encoded to 256-kbps AAC, and their URLs can be captured and replayed for up to an hour. Reconstituting tracks, then, is as simple as catting all the chunks together and running them through libav.

I'm sure there are much easier ways to make unauthorized copies of music, but this actually seems fairly unprotected, though obviously not 'open', since it's using a flash-based player.

It was smart for Amazon to increase the price of Prime right before launching music streaming. :p

This is another case (IMHO) of Amazon being a "Jack of all trades, King of none". Prime delivery is awesome, they are king in that arena but video/music is seriously lacking in the UI/UX department.

They have decent content for free on Instant Video but it doesn't keep track of what you have watched and navigating is a massive PITA. Their music selection is sparse and that's me being kind... I paused my Spotify to check out their OS X app and couldn't believe how terrible it is. Search is confusing and navigating my library is not intuitive at all.

I will keep an eye on it but they should not have released it in this state.

I like the idea, but it seems to be poorly executed with the absolutely-dismal selection of Prime-eligible music. Good albums missing, good songs missing, even entire artists missing (even ones that were at one point pretty mainstream; Sublime, for example).

Amusingly, when searching for "Let It Go", I ended up with virtually every song titled "Let It Go" that's not sung by Idina Menzel (speaking of which, the only Idina Menzel songs available are from Glee, and there are a whole two of them that are actually sung by Idina Menzel). Disney's probably to blame for that one, but still.

Wooohooo, yet another amazon prime thing that isn't offered to Canadians. Considering we pay more, get "2 day shipping" which is actually 3 days because Amazon cant' seem to do math, and get no other services, and Amazon prices are rarely something to get excited about here, well Amazon, we're done. I just cancelled my amazon prime account. Apple, Netflix, and Google figured out ways to get media to Canada, but Amazon decided to suck donkey nuts... again.

Do feel so bad. My amazon.de account in Germany also does not have this "prime" feature.

Well, I pay $83 a year for prime, I just don't get anything special for it.

For those wanting to compare this to Spotify, Amazon Prime Music has about 5% of the number of songs that Spotify does (1 million vs 20 million). Most notably, it's missing the entire Universal Music Group catalog as well as most new releases. At 20 dollars less per year than Spotify, while also offering Prime shipping and Prime movies, I can't imagine Amazon will be able to reach any sort of licensing arrangement where they have anywhere near the library Spotify has.

They'll probably run it at a loss until they have the subscriber numbers to make profit.

As long as they get usable web/phone/xbox apps this will kill Spotify.

I want to like this... with Amazon video, I can read reviews, see related items, and play the video on the same page. With Amazon music I can read reviews and find related items, but to play it I must first 1) add it to my library, 2) navigate to the cloud player 3) search for the album in my library, 4) click play.

After finding an album using Amazon reviews and related items, this is faster: 1) Search GrooveShark/YouTube from the Chrome URL bar, 2) click play.

Amazon's cloud player was the first music locker I tried (I believe in the US it predated Spotify along with google music and certainly icloud/itunes integration). I keep forgetting to cancel my prime account, so I thought I'd check this out.

Beyond the comments above about UX and library content, I was surprised to find I no longer have access to my uploaded songs unless I upgrade to something called "Cloud Player Premium". No thanks.

There was a playlist I actually wanted to listen to. I added it, and I was okay with the awkward checkout flow until it prompted me to enter credit card information, despite being logged into my regular Amazon account.

At this point, I gave up and closed the window. I couldn't be bothered to enter this information when I already have various other streaming services. I wonder what their stats are like for the sign on funnel...

Can't wait to compare this with Spotify.

I just went through my current Spotify playlist and everything was on there. I'll try it over the next few days. This may be it for Spotify.

Most of what I listen to on Spotify is not available. It is not that obscure.

Mike Pinto, Greensky Bluegrass, The Devil Makes Three, JJ Grey & Mofro, Jack Johnson, Dirty Heads... list goes on.

I guess I just listen to very mainstream stuff... the only in that list I have heard of is Jack Johnson. I guess it's fortunate for me that I have pretty vanilla tastes that Amazon seems to serve up.

Very fortunate from what i can tell. Looking at the top 100 albums in their "MP3 Downloads" section.. not a single one is available to stream via Prime

Sigur ros wasn't available.

Most of Animal Collective's albums aren't available as well.

Amazon loves running experiments. I am sure they will learn and improve. I'm not gonna drop Spotify for this, but imagine Amazon will improve this over time and make it more useful. Hopefully enough to where I can drop the $100/yr Spotify subscriptions.

After reading about this on Hacker News, I went straight there to find my current favorite song, Happy, by Pharrell Williams. It wasn't there so I bought it for a $1.29. I wasn't happy. Then, I listened to the song a few times and I was happy again.

I wish they would quit rolling all of this shit into a giant monoproduct. I just want to prepay for postage.

edit: Is this why they raised the prices for Prime? If so, the fact that I will never use it means they're saying that they don't want me as a customer.

Can't use it as Amazon knows about my German account. Weird that it isn't a problem for Instant Video.

But I guess my next prime subscription will be on a new account that is only connected to the US. Maybe it will finally allow me to buy TV shows as well.

> Over a million songs and hundreds of playlists.

When applications like Hip Hop[1] exist and are advertising 45 million songs, a million doesn't seem that impressive.

[1] - http://gethiphop.net/

Not sure why I have to "add" to listen to Prime songs. Can't I play the full song before adding it to my library? I want to be careful what I add - it's kinda like a bookmark. I should be able to try it first.

Would love to see this work in the Sonos app. I'm a Prime member & just added a bunch of albums to my Amazon Music Player via web browser. Switched to Sonos and the AMP, but only see the ones I've purchased.

Cool. Unlike most things Amazon, such as Prime video, this service works in Japan, using a US Amazon account.

(I tested quickly using the Mac client for it.)

Just in time to go along with their phone that's coming out.

It is interesting to see Amazon enter the ring with Google and Apple on the phones and music market. A few years ago I don't think I would have entirely believed it. But I guess that's why I don't do any investing outside of index funds!

What kind of monthly mobile data usage will this application entail? iTunes is geared toward the model of "download, then listen on the go" with the option of cellular streaming. Amazon Music seems the reverse, geared toward cellular streaming, with some caching. The service certainly provides the phone with the feature of free mobile music, but at the cost ($?) of significantly increased consumption of one's data plan.

Anybody knows if this is going to be available in the UK?

Free (with purchased subscription)

A lot of comments seems to be negative on this.

As a amazon prime subscriber, this is great for me, here's why:

1. I have amazon prime for their delivery, and this is basically a free music service for my mobile that is unmatched by anything else. (Free spotify sucks on mobile in comparison, and can't be used offline)

2. Downloaded songs basically gives me a library and allows me to use the song everywhere.

3. A million songs is a lot, unless you listen a lot to very esoteric bands, it works well.

The app is crashing on search for me, but it doesn't matter, the content is so great I will keep going back. Amazon Prime video already trumped netflix with their HBO library acquisition. I am psyched to see what they will try next.

I don't see the point - it doesn't have Jason Derulo's latest album, nor does it have Ariana Grande's.

At first I thought it is free music without ads: "Unlimited, ad-free streaming. Free with Amazon Prime." I noticed "Listen free for 30 days", so there is some kind of trick here.

I logged into the system and on the next screen they were asking for my credit card information which is needed to start a 30 day free trial on Amazon Prime (after it is $100/year). Prime is some kind of premium service for Amazon services.

So, Amazon Prime Music is FREE if you BUY Amazon Prime. In my opinion that is not anyway free, well okay it is for 30 days after that you will get automaticly charged.

What exactly did you think "Free with Amazon Prime." meant?

"Free with Amazon Prime" makes this very clear. No tricks, just plain English.

"Free with purchase" is common marketing terminology.

You didn't expect a ginormous retailer would just give away millions of products for absolutely free (ad-free, no subscription, no cost whatsoever), did you?

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