As of the end of July, Amazon has made some significant changes to the way Amazon Prime sharing works across households, Lifehacker reports.
Before August 1st, you could share the cheap shipping benefits of Amazon Prime with up to four other adults. Now, the company will limit sharing Prime benefits to two adults and four children—unless you already signed up—in a new feature called Amazon Household that shares all Prime benefits, and even payment methods.
The other big change is that now the two adults involved must share credit and debit cards, which they didn’t have to before. But Amazon isn’t exclusively removing benefits—it’s also adding media streaming features to all the members of the household—adults and children, which they didn’t have before. (The children only get the media sharing features; they can’t place orders like the adults.)
Anyone still using the old version of Prime household-sharing will be grandfathered in unless they opt to switch to the new version. The new version seems aimed at traditional nuclear families—Mom and Dad who share payment methods and can make purchases, kids who can’t buy things but can watch media. It’s not going to be as useful for families with live-at-home older teens or adults who would have purchasing power of their own. I guess they’re meant to get their own Prime subscriptions if they want to use it on their own behalf.
Note that ‘streaming’ is only for Prime Video, and not Prime Music.
This mostly brings it into alignment with Family Library, which includes the payment method sharing requirement and restricts that to two adults. I don’t think the extension of benefits for Prime Video streaming, KOLL and Kindle First amounts to that much value.
Extension of Prime Music would be of more benefit, particularly for households with an Echo, which can switch between music libraries. It would mean each adult could add their own music and playlists from Prime. And from a competitive perspective, it would position them better versus Apple, which allows music sharing.