Following rumors earlier this week that such a service was forthcoming, Amazon has officially announced its spanking new ad -supported music streaming service – not to be confused with its other two music services – for Alexa-enabled devices.
The service made its debut Thursday amid a few other updates from the company (including, notably, an apparent truce with Google ). The streaming service bills itself as the free alternative for people who have an Alexa-enabled device but do not have either a prime membership (and therefore access to Prime Music) or a subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited, its other Spotify competitor
As of today, Amazon says Echo device owners can ask Alexa to pull up an artist station, genre, or playlist, and the voice assistant will cue the ad-supported service. According to TechCrunch, Amazon's free service shares its library with Prime Music, which boasts roughly 2 million songs. Amazon Music Unlimited, by contrast, has a catalog of more than 50 million songs.
The service is a benefit to both owners without access to Amazon's paid music services as well as, of course, to the company. As TechCrunch noted, and ad-supported streaming service linked to its Alexa-enabled devices opens up new revenue opportunities — and surely, if any company needs more of our money, it's Amazon.
Billboard broke the news last week that Amazon's free tier Spotify competitor was just around the corner. In order to secure licenses for free music, the report said, the company “offered to initially pay some record labels per stream, regardless of how much advertising Amazon sells.”
Separately, Amazon on Thursday also announced it had made nice with Google and will again offer YouTube on Fire TV, while Amazon Prime Video will return to Chromecast devices. Of course, there are some caveats. But this is Amazon we're talking about, after all. What'd you expect?