Review of Amazon Prime Music

amazon prime musicThe timing of the new Amazon offering was ironic because I’d been considering subscribing to a music service. Mostly I’m one of those people who has artists and songs she likes and listens to them over and over. However, sometimes even I get the urge to listen to something different.

One of the things I don’t like about most subscription services is that they are streaming. While I did recently upgrade my cellular data plan, I didn’t want to blow all my new data on streaming music. Yes, I know Spotify has a download option with their Premium level, but I wasn’t sure I was willing to pay $9.99 a month for it.

Then Amazon came along with something that was perfect for my needs. We’re already Prime subscribers so cost wasn’t an issue. The biggest appeal for me was the ability to download Prime songs.

The app is functional, though not fancy. Setting up Playlists and adding songs seems like it takes too many clicks and swipes. Nor is any of it intuitive. Amazon could work on their interface. However, once you’ve downloaded music and set up your playlists, it works well.

The thing I like the most is the ability to create playlists which mix Prime music, purchased music and tracks I’ve uploaded from other sources. It feels like I “own” the Prime songs, even though I don’t. However, since we’re not planning to cancel Prime anytime soon, for practical purposes, it is like owning the tracks, until, of course, licenses expire. I’ll worry about that when it happens.

How’s the selection? Not bad, at least for my tastes (which tend to be classic rock and 80s pop–don’t judge me). I also like soundtracks, and there’s plenty of those. I’d been meaning to listen to soundtracks for The Two Towers and Return of the King, and both were available.

Yes, there’s stuff I want that isn’t available. I recently discovered Thirty Seconds to Mars and was hoping their albums were present. Nope. However, my son had been talking about a recent Linkin Park album, and it was available.

Overall, there’s been enough to keep me happy. My biggest “problem” is that I keep finding different music to download. For the first couple of days, I spent more time discovering and downloading than listening. It’s the same problem I have with Scribd, so I’m used to it.

Like most people, I wasn’t happy about the recent Prime price increase, but it’s still a great value for us. We use everything: free shipping, Kindle Lending Library, Amazon Instant Video and now Prime Music.

If a big selection is important to you, head for Spotify. If you’re like me and are a more casual listener, Amazon Prime Music might work for you, especially if you want to use other Prime features.

Update: I just ran across a great tutorial on KBoards with screenshots.

11 Comments on Review of Amazon Prime Music

  1. When you say “download” do you mean “stream”? Or can you actually download Prime music as well as just stream it?

  2. With the app you can actually download to four devices concurrently. You can stream from only one device at a time.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_left_v4_sib?ie=UTF8&nodeId=201535280

    I personally think it’s great but a big selection is not terribly important to me. Neither is having the newest stuff. I will say it has encouraged me to try some playlists and albums that I never have considered otherwise.

  3. Hey Chris?

    One of the things I don’t like about most subscription services is that they are streaming … I didn’t want to blow all my new data on streaming music …. Then Amazon came along with something that was perfect for my needs. We’re already Prime subscribers so cost wasn’t an issue. The biggest appeal for me was the ability to download Prime songs.

    Yes. Download means download.

    /signed/ another prime user who spent most of the weekend downloading music from Amazon to my Fire HDXs.

  4. Ah, I see I’m not alone in loving the download ability. Or in spending waaay too much time looking for music. :)

    I had missed the four item limit, but it shouldn’t be a problem. Two iPads, one iPhone and maybe one Nook HD. My husband doesn’t care about downloading to his phone.

  5. Hmm. When I went to the Prime Music web interface on my computer, it told me that only non-Prime music can be downloaded. I assume, then, that it must be downloadable to mobile devices only, and use some kind of DRM to lock it in place.

    Wonder how long it’ll take someone to come up with a hack to let you crack and copy the music out.

  6. After spending a couple of hours with Prime Music, initially on a PC, then on a Fire HD, I’d say it’s fairly similar to Prime Video. Not much new stuff and a limited selection. My first five searches all turned up nothing. (I listen to a lot of different kinds of music.) I went to the “Genre” filter and “Albums” and found some good stuff, although I was amused to find Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow under “Folk” :)

  7. @Chris- Yes, only tablets and phones with the app installed can download.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_left_v4_sib?ie=UTF8&nodeId=201535240

  8. Technically, all music you play on your PC or mobile device is ‘downloaded’ at the instant of playing and probably for a few seconds on either side of it. The difference is what happens to it afterwards.

  9. Undergirding all of this is the classic decision: rent vs own. The rise of bandwidth caps may be changing how some people think about subscriptions (rent). The other, more subtle, factor is how you feel about the content. A book or movie might rely on a surprise (twist) that, once known, spoils subsequent readings/viewings. A song might not have that characteristic and thus be listenable ad infinitum or until the next stage in human development kicks in. That might argue for renting books and movies but owning music.
    Yet, it’s apparently more complicated than that. Some of us save books and movies without intending to revisit them as if they were trophies on the shelf/wall. Some of us go to great lengths to resurrect cassette tapes and other entombed media so that we can revisit the music we listened to way back when.
    Now that all of this stuff can be digitized, we could own and keep it all even in a small apartment but without the book shelf as trophy case, would we still want to?

  10. Prime music stinks when it has to be streamed. Absolutely useless when you’re in the car and want to listen. Have to use their stupid archaic player, which will earn you a ticket for simply touching a handheld device ! Amazon should just stay out of music entirely and use my prime fee to provide better shipping services.

  11. The “free” prime music feature is only free if you don’t care about getting original hits and are satisfied with inferior remakes. They whip music at you that you don’t want and have a poor selection of original music. It might be better for hip hop or other current trends, but I’m for soft rock classics . Not much there that doesn’t cost .99-1.29 each.

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