Amazon is expected to release a cheaper music service exclusively for its Echo devices, according to a report from Recode. The service will cost substantially less than other subscription music services, at either $4 or $5 per month, Recode’s Peter Kafka reports. Most monthly music subscriptions cost about $10 per month.
Amazon declined to comment on the reports. Amazon chief executive Jeffrey Bezos is also the owner of The Washington Post.
Details on the reported service are thin, but it seems as though users will be able to listen to on-demand, ad-free music through Amazon’s smart home devices. It’s not clear how Amazon will differentiate the service from competitors, apart from its price.
Right now, it’s possible to hook the Echo – a combination Bluetooth speaker and home assistant – to a variety of music services, including Amazon’s own Prime Music and competitors such as Spotify. The Recode report makes clear that one trade-off of the new, cheaper service would be that users can’t access this service’s music through their phones — only through Amazon’s Echo speakers.
That’s a bit of a surprise. Mobile devices have become the most common way that people listen to music; for example, Spotify reported early last year that 52 percent of its users are now mobile.
But home music and entertainment have been a top priority for the online retailer. For example, the company recently made its online video service available as a standalone product for $10 per month. Previously, video had only been a perk of Amazon’s $79 per year Prime service.
Introducing Echo-only music service would more closely tie Amazon’s entertainment push with another major priority for the company: the connected home. The Echo, which was first introduced in 2014 and houses the Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, is the clearest example of Amazon’s ambitions for the high-tech home.
And it seems to have been well-received. While Amazon itself hasn’t released sales numbers, the Information reported that the company sold 1 million units in the second half of 2015, and hopes to sell as many as 10 million in 2017. Offering a cheap, at-home music service tied to the Echo, may not have Amazon address the biggest possible market, but it does provide another selling point for the Echo.
And mobile users may still have a product coming down the pipeline. Amazon is also expected to introduce a $10 per month music service that is more on par with full offerings from Spotify, Google, Apple and others, according to a June Reuters report.