My Year In Review Amazon Music

Apple Music and Spotify receive lots of attending, simply the streaming music services world is much larger than those industry juggernauts. Amazon Music Unlimited doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of some competing services—it lacks live radio, for example, and a recent price-hike has lessened the value for Prime members—but information technology offers more than than 90 million songs, Hard disk drive Audio, impressive Amazon device compatibility, and a deep podcast well. Our Editors’ Choice options—LiveXLive, SiriusXM Internet Radio, Spotify, and Tidal—offer a few more perks, just Amazon Music Unlimited is slap-up all-rounder for streaming audio.

How Much Does Amazon Music Unlimited Cost?

When it debuted, Amazon Music Unlimited lacked a gratuitous listening tier, much like Apple Music and Tidal. Not anymore. You lot can now listen to select ad-supported playlists and thousands of stations (for example, All Hits, Fuego Latino, and Holiday Favorites) via the web, Amazon Music mobile apps, Echo smart speakers, and Fire Television receiver devices. Spotify’southward gratuitous tier, on the other hand, lets you explore the service’southward full 60 million-song catalog. That said, some albums only appear on Spotify Costless afterwards a two-week delay.

Of grade, Music Unlimited also offers the manufacture-standard $ix.99 per month premium plan for its ad-costless Private tier. Note, however, that Amazon Prime number subscribers receive a miserly discount that drops the fee to $8.99 per month (or $89 per year)—on peak of their $139 per twelvemonth Prime fees. No, Music Unlimitedisn’t included with a Prime membership. Amazon Music Prime is. More on that afterward.

In add-on, Amazon has a $fourteen.99 per month (or $149 per year) Family Plan that covers 6 people. This offering rivals Apple Music, Deezer, Spotify, and Tidal’southward similar packages. A massive 90-day free trial—which is cut down to 30 days for the Family Plan—is available if you want to try before subscribing. Amazon Music Unlimited’s trial menstruation outclasses rival trial periods, except for the i offered by SiriusXM Internet Radio. That service also has a 90-day costless period. Another central promotion to go on your eyes on comes around Prime number 24-hour interval. New subscribers get the xc-day trial menstruation extended by an extra 30 days, giving you lot four months for free during this express window. For new members, this is a sweet bargain.

Amazon Repeat, Echo Dot, Repeat Expect, Echo Prove, Amazon Burn down Telly, and Amazon Tap owners receive a discount, also: they pay just $four.99 per month, which is but a dollar more than LiveXLive’s ad-gratuitous Plus programme. That’s impressive. If you desire to stream to multiple smart speakers, yet, you need to upgrade to an Private or Family program. Amazon Music Unlimited’south vox-controlled device plans come up with one large limitation: Yous cannot utilise them to stream music via apps or a spider web browser; youmust use one of the aforementioned devices.

Students who are a office of Prime Pupil ($7.49 per calendar month, $69 per yr) receive a discount that drops the Music Unlimited fee to only $0.99 per calendar month.

Amazon Music Unlimited does not let you record audio. If y’all desire that feature, your only selection is SiriusXM Internet Radio, the Editors’ Choice pick for streaming audio services focused on live sound.

Amazon Music Unlimited vs. Amazon Music Prime

Curious about the differences between Amazon Music Unlimited and Amazon Music Prime? Nosotros’ll break information technology down. Amazon Music Unlimited is a standalone streaming music service that offers more than than ninety million music tracks. Amazon Music Prime number, on the other paw, is bundled in your Prime number subscription and offers more than two million songs. Both are ad-gratuitous listening experiences and are available on numerous devices.

If you don’t care too much about music, and simply want to dabble here and there, Music Prime number is a decent pick. That said, you’ll notice that some tracks and albums encourage you to sign up for Amazon Music Unlimited to hear them. For example, there was a time when y’all could non stream Taylor Swift’sReputation with Music Prime.

Signing up for Amazon Music Unlimited updates the service and replaces Amazon Music Prime as your Amazon jukebox, so you needn’t worry about launching the wrong streaming service.

Amazon Music Unlimited's scrolling lyrics

Alexa and Amazon Music Unlimited

The increased library size makes Music Unlimited infinitely more than interesting to employ with Amazon devices. In the past, we’d often grow frustrated with Repeat’s disability to stream songs in their entirety due to licensing issues. Now, we can command an Echo, using the Alexa voice-command technology, to fire up the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Suck My Kiss,” and it does so without upshot.

Amazon’south smart gear also delivers backside-the-scenes commentary, dubbed Side-by-Sides. For example, you can enquire Alexa to “play Side-by-Side with OneRepublic,” and Ryan Tedder comments on songs from the ring’s newest album. The Killers, Kongos, Norah Jones, and U2 also provide Side-past-Side content. It’s reminiscent of LiveXLive’s Dna stations, but without the deep historical context that connects past and present musicians.

In add-on, yous can employ an Amazon device to search for songs past lyrics, fire up playlists, and search for songs to friction match your mood. Information technology’s cool to command Alexa to play up-tempo happy music and have the Echo blast the “Pop To Make You Feel Better” playlist.

That said, Amazon Music Unlimited lacks live music offerings. Certain, in that location are curated stations to savour, merely cypher that compares to the alive radio offered by Sirius XM, for case. Amazon is currently experimenting with this feature with an entirely separate app called Amazon Amp, merely only time will tell if the functionality crosses over into Music Unlimited.

Music Library and Audio Quality

Music Unlimited contains more than 90 million songs and dozens of stations in its catalog, including the expected Classical, Decades, Stone, and Hip-Hop stations. You tin can even find more obscure musical offerings within Amazon’due south catalog, such as video game soundtracks and fan covers. In a nice touch, any Amazon Music Prime playlists that yous’ve created in the past carry over to Music Unlimited. You lot can, of course, create new ones, besides.

Several parts of Music Unlimited’s interface are designed to aid you observe or purchase music. Almost everywhere in the layout, you’ll detect recommended albums and playlists based on your listening habits. Thankfully, these suggestions don’t experience forced upon you. In fact, nosotros find them helpful.

The left navigation carte du jour contains sections for Purchased and Imported music. The onetime has Amazon Music-purchased tracks that you tin can stream or download. The latter houses the files that you uploaded to Amazon’due south servers using the Amazon Music desktop app’south now-defunct music uploading characteristic. Spotify, it should exist noted, lets yous upload music from your desktop.

We were pleased to see “Immigrant Vocal,” “Whole Lotta Love,” “Blackness Dog,” and other Led Zeppelin classics appear on-screen after keying the band’s proper name into Music Unlimited’s large search box. They’re the real tracks, too, not tribute works past bands no 1 cares about (though those likewise show upwards in the search results). The tracks sound good, as they stream up to a clear, 320Kbps bitrate in standard quality. This matches Tidal’s Premium (320Kbps) service tier for the same $9.99 per month.

Music Unlimited has i of the best lyric features we’ve seen in the streaming music space. Instead of offering a static page like Deezer, Music Unlimited has karaoke-like scrolling text that moves in time with the performance. It’due south really cool, and we’d like other services to adopt like lyrics integration.

Amazon Music Unlimited HD

If y’all want even higher-quality music streams, cheque out Amazon Music Hard disk. It was originally a programme that cost an boosted $5 per month, but following Apple tree’s announcement of support for Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos, that extra cost was removed. Now, all Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers can savour more than 90 million songs in HD quality (upwards to 850Kbps, 16-fleck at 44.1kHz) and more vii million songs in Ultra Hard disk quality (up to an cool 3,730Kbps, 24-scrap at 192kHz). This measures up pretty well to Tidal’s HiFi (non-compressed, ane,411Kbps FLAC) plan, which is a hefty $xix.99 per month, merely also occasionally sports Master tracks (up to 9,216Kbps). You’re getting similar quality for a solid $9.99; that’s half of Tidal’s cost. Even meliorate, if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you lot only pay $8.99 per month. Information technology’s a fine deal.

For Hard disk audio, y’all need a device and internet connexion that supports information technology. Amazon recommends an 1.5Mbps or college connection, and headphones or speakers that support a dynamic range (20kHz+ for HD audio, 40kHz+ for Ultra HD audio). Y’all’ll also need more than a standard Amazon Repeat; the company recommends the $199.99 Amazon Repeat Studio, every bit well as hardware from Bose, Denon, Onkyo, and Polk.

Yous can merely listen to Amazon Music HD via the Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows apps; you cannot stream the high-quality music via a web browser. On the upside, the apps accept quality indicators to show when y’all’re listening to an HD or Ultra HD track. Y’all can read about the Ultra Hd hardware requirements and general compatibility at Amazon’south Music HD folio.

The Amazon Music HD tracks audio quite good, though the improvements are mostly subtle. We found several Music Hard disk drive playlists, including ones for David Bowie, Ariana Grande, Billie Holiday, and Queen, as well as many individual albums and songs. At that place’s even a decent amount of G-Pop available on Amazon Music Unlimited; we jammed to a Hard disk version of NCT Dream’s “Hot Sauce,” and an UltraHD version of CIX’s “All For You.”

Nosotros peculiarly enjoyed Queen’south “Don’t Stop Me Now,” as John Deacon’south bass lines sounded a hair deeper in the hi-res audio format. Cymbal crashes seemed to linger a bit longer, likewise. Note that we listened using a pair of mid-tier Audio-Technica headphones connected to a PC, a computer with a speedy landline connection. When we compared the sound using a pair of depression-cease earbuds plugged into our test phone, we couldn’t detect a quality departure as the songs streamed over a Wi-Fi betoken.

Amazon follows others with a podcast focus

Amazon Music Unlimited’south Podcasts and Video

As mentioned before, don’t expect much non-music content from Amazon Music Unlimited, aside from a handful of comedy specials (in sound form). That said, Amazon Music Unlimited pulls a page from Spotify’s playback by offering a robust podcast catalog.

Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers who honey
Code Switch,
Dolly Parton’s America, or
WTF With Marc Maron
no longer need to venture elsewhere for those shows. Even amend, Amazon Music Unlimited features sectional, original podcasts hosted by notable celebrities, such as DJ Khaled, Becky G, Will Smith, and Dan Patrick. It’due south Amazon Music Unlimited’s standing move to stay in parity with the competition, particularly in the highly competitive entertainment category.

We previously dinged Amazon Music Unlimited for defective video, so it’due south dainty to come across that Amazon added music videos to complement its audio offerings. Music videos are organized past genre and iconic artist categories. Y’all go a rich choice, such as Classic Hip-Hop, ninety’s Pop Throwbacks, 80’s Hits, and Classic State, alongside collections from artists like Britney Spears.

Amazon Music Unlimited Mobile Apps

Amazon Music Unlimited has Android and iOS apps. We tested the Android version on our smartphone, and discovered that it closely duplicated the Music Unlimited desktop experience. The app contains copious playlists, useful recommendations, and a music store for making purchases. It contains lyrics, too.

In add-on, you tin can employ Amazon’s Alexa tech to search for songs by lyrics or to play tracks and playlists. For example, when nosotros asked Alexa for dinner music, it supplied a laid back, easy listening playlist.

Magical Sound Shower

Amazon Music Unlimited is a worthwhile streaming music and podcast service, and that recommendation rides well-nigh entirely on the back of the service’s Music Hd catalog and Alexa, Echo, and Burn TV features. Plus, removing the Music HD fee simply increases the value proposition. Amazon Music Unlimited lacks some of the content found in LiveXLive, SiriusXM Internet Radio, Spotify, and Tidal—PCMag’s Editors’ Pick picks for streaming music services—but you won’t be left disappointed, especially if you’re already a part of the Amazon ecosystem.