Sylvan Esso - Sylvan Esso
Chet Faker - Built on Glass
Tycho - Awake
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.
Navigate to netflix.com
Click on the continue watching pane on top left corner of my screen.
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 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.
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%!
Source: meta field "description" at https://www.gracenote.com/company/faq/
I suspect the same is true for iTunes (but I'm not sure)
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.
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.
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.
I've also had a significant portion of my orders take well over two business days to arrive, even with Prime shipping.
I think the trick is: search as normal for music, then click the 'Prime Eligible' checkbox. It didn't show up otherwise.
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.
But it does remember what episode you are on, the ones that are bold are ones you haven't seent.
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.
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'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 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.
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".
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.
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.
While I like their site for shopping, etc., their content delivery UIs leave much to be desired.
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.
(* - yes, it's $99/yr)
Additionally, the player URL (http://cloudplayer.amazon.com) prompts me to install Flash, something I've been unwilling to do for years now.
You don't. cloudplayer.amazon.com -> type in search -> look at right-hand side.
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.
"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?
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?
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.
But, in a way, you are right; it isn't free. Just heavily subsidized is probably a better word for it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I will never understand the appeal of subscription music services.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Before Cloud Drive, I used Subsonic, which is self hosted. Though it never really worked all that well.
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.)
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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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.)
Pretty brilliant move.
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.
Hopefully this changes and Amazon can add even more value to my Prime subscription.
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.
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 $15 to own option. Also the Netflix discovery/browse is experience is light years better than Amazon's.
Or thats how I ended up with a frozen CD that cost -$.50
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).
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!
This line reads like it's by Rhapsody in 2002.
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:
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.
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.
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.
As long as they get usable web/phone/xbox apps this will kill Spotify.
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.
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.
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...
Mike Pinto, Greensky Bluegrass, The Devil Makes Three, JJ Grey & Mofro, Jack Johnson, Dirty Heads... list goes on.
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.
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.
When applications like Hip Hop exist and are advertising 45 million songs, a million doesn't seem that impressive.
 - http://gethiphop.net/
(I tested quickly using the Mac client for it.)
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 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.
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?