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Sunday, May 22, 2022


Is Amazon Music Unlimited worth it in 2021?

Amazon’s video-streaming service used to be known as Unbox, LoveFilm Instant, and Instant Video before it switched to being called Prime Video. In light of Amazon’s identity crisis, some people might assume Amazon Music Unlimited is just a rebranded version of Amazon Music Prime, which is free for Prime members.

In truth, Amazon Music Unlimited is a separate music-streaming service that coexists alongside Music Prime.
Due to its ‘open-access policy and catalog of 75 million songs (more on that later), it could be a strong competitor to Spotify and Apple Music. Additionally, you can now upgrade your Amazon Music Unlimited subscription to the HD tier for no extra charge.
As a complement to Music Unlimited, it opens CD-quality and high-resolution audio streams to anyone with a compatible player. Considering that Amazon and Apple offer Hi-Res audio streaming for free, on paper, it makes justifying more expensive music streaming services such as Tidal harder.

What is the cost of Amazon Music Unlimited?

Unlike Apple Music and Tidal, Amazon Music Unlimited did not have a free tier when it launched. However, this has changed. Through the web, Amazon Music mobile apps, Echo smart speakers, and FireTV devices, you can now enjoy thousands of ad-supported playlists and stations (For example, All Hits, Fuego Latino, and Holiday Favorites). The free Spotify tier, on the other hand, gives you access to the service’s full catalog of 60 million songs. It should be noted, though, that not all albums show up on Spotify Free immediately.

Music Unlimited also offers its ad-free Individual tier for $9.99 per month as part of its standard premium plan. There is a discount for Amazon Prime members, however, which drops the monthly fee to $7.99 a month (or $79 a year)-on top of the $129 per year Prime membership fee. There is no Music Unlimited with a Prime membership. Instead, Amazon Prime Music is available.

Individual membership for Prime users is lowered to £8/$8/AU$8 a month, which is a little inducement for the millions of Prime customers (147 million in the US alone).

You may also sign up for a £4/$4/AU$5 monthly subscription that allows you to use the service on a single Amazon Echo or Echo Dot wireless speaker.

However, the low prices do not end there. Previously, you had to pay an extra £5 ($5, AU$5) each month to access Amazon Music HD, the company’s CD-quality and high-resolution music tier. However, Amazon eliminated the price in May 2021, making it even more enticing and a more direct competitor to Apple Music, which has stepped up its own game by providing higher-quality streaming to its users at no additional cost.

Features of Amazon Music Unlimited

Amazon claims to have over 70 million songs accessible on its service, and the Music Unlimited home page highlights new releases, ‘popular,’ and recommended music and playlists.

We don’t detect any obvious holes in their portfolio, and our search for more obscure music artists yields a high success rate. After a sluggish start, the site has grown its music video catalog, but we wouldn’t call it vast.

Music Unlimited, like Prime Video, allows you to purchase through its Digital Store, which is similar to Amazon’s ‘Digital Music’ area. Amazon discontinued its extremely handy Music Storage options in 2018.

  • Large music library
  • HD and Ultra HD audio tiers
  • Free tier
  • Lengthy 90-day free trial
  • Tight integration with Amazon device family
  • Lacks live radio
  • No video content

Amazon Music Unlimited compatibility

Amazon Music Unlimited is compatible with smartphones and tablets via its Android and iOS applications; PCs and Macs via its online player or desktop software; Fire tablets and Fire TVs; certain in-car entertainment systems; Sonos multi-room wireless speakers; Blue sound and NAD BluOS devices; and other devices. It’s worth mentioning, though, that you can’t listen to CD-quality music or high-resolution files via Amazon Music HD via your browser. This is only possible via specialized desktop and mobile apps, which is not a terrible thing.

Amazon has also sought to improve the functionality, integration, and intelligence of its voice-control assistant. For example, stating “Alexa, try Amazon Music Unlimited” will activate the subscription.

You may direct it to play certain songs, albums, or artists (“Alexa, play Stormzy” will shuffle his music) or genres, such as 80s pop.

The sound quality on Amazon Music Unlimited

Amazon has been tight-lipped about its streaming bitrate, stating that it supports “various bitrates,” but we’d bet our reference hi-fi system that it’s equivalent to Spotify’s 320kbps streams.

When you listen to the two tracks side by side using a cheap pair of headphones linked to a smartphone or laptop, the differences are hardly discernible.

It requires a skilled DAC/headphone combination, such as the Chord Hugo 2/Grado SR325e, to notice Amazon has a tiny advantage.

It’s a little more delicate in terms of dynamic subtlety, and its rounder-sounding presentation is more pleasing. Conor Oberst’s Mamah Borthwick (a Sketchflowing )’s harmonica introduction sounds somewhat warmer and more gently delivered.

Apps for Amazon Music Unlimited on Mobile

Amazon Music Unlimited is available on both Android and iOS devices. On a smartphone, we tested the Android version and noticed that it closely matched the Music Unlimited PC experience. The program has numerous playlists, smart recommendations, and a music store where you may buy songs. It also has lyrics.

You may also use Amazon’s Alexa technology to search for music by lyrics or to play tracks and playlists. When we asked Alexa for dinner music, it recommended a laid-back, easy-listening mix.

Final Verdict

Music Unlimited makes a lot of sense for Prime members who want to take advantage of the lower monthly fee and the additional CD-quality and hi-res tiers given by Amazon Music HD. It’s a tempting alternative to more expensive services like Tidal.
Spotify, on the other hand, provides more dependable, complete functionality with greater curation. And its customers may look forward to HiFi mode on Spotify. Amazon will have a difficult time convincing Apple Music subscribers to swap sides, especially because the latter offers CD-quality and high-resolution streaming that sounds fantastic.

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