Customers in the UK, Germany, and the US can now get free access to Amazon Music via the Amazon Music app on iOS, Android, FireTV, and the service's web interface. That's according to an announcement made by Amazon today highlighting the company's latest service extension. That not only won't require any payment via a subscription or credit card. Users won't need to have an Amazon Prime membership or Amazon Music Unlimited account.
Amazon is instead supporting its service via advertisements. In fact, the company says the offering will be similar to that already enjoyed by owners of its Echo-branded devices. Summarily, that works like any number of available music streaming services, such as Pandora. Users can use Amazon Music to access "thousands of stations."
The service builds those stations around users' favorite songs, artists, 'era', or genre. It also hosts stations based on "top global playlists" and holiday-related themes.
Does this work as a free preview of paid Amazon Music Services?
The decision by Amazon to provide free access to its Music-branded service for users appears to be part of a bid to gain a wider audience for the service. This announcement follows another made by the company, offering four months of its service for just $0.99.
Specifically, the company made that offer in conjunction with Amazon Music Unlimited. The service offers users the ability to stream more than 50 million songs via their Alexa-branded devices, as well as on Android and iOS. Music stations described in the latest announcement are included in that and the service also works with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The assortment of music, of course, includes all the newest releases as well as classics.
That's a fairly substantial deal, even by comparison to what's available to Amazon Prime members. Amazon Prime members have access to over 2 million songs, ad-free.
Comparatively, Amazon Prime members who want access to Amazon Music Unlimited are required to doll out $7.99 per month for a monthly subscription. As an alternative, the service costs $79 year for an annual subscription. Customers who aren't Prime members pay $9.99 per month. So it goes without saying that a deal for four months at $0.99 is a generous one.
For this announcement, Amazon also reiterated its offer, implying the company is looking to the combination of offers as a way to expand its subscribership. In effect, the offers work as budget or free trials of the services. In the latter case, the customers are getting access to in excess of 48 million more tunes.
Is this permanent?
The primary difference between that previous budget-friendly offering and the new one appears to be that the new deal is permanent. The company hasn't listed or even suggested at a timeline during which users will be able to listen with ad-support. There's no telling when the $0.99 deal will end but that is reportedly a limited-time offer.
Amazon's primary competitors in the space are big hitters such as iTunes, Google Play Music, YouTube Music, and similar services. Offering users a chance to try out the service and make comparisons could serve as a viable way to gain market share.
The same holds true of any free offering supported by ads, as that's already relatively common among the competition. Especially at a time when Amazon's devices and device bundles are undergoing tremendous seasonal sales across numerous retailers.