On the 28th of February, Amazon launched its Prime Music service in India. The new music streaming service joins the ever-growing list of music streaming services in India. While the likes of Saavn, Gaana, Wynk are free to use, Prime Music comes at a cost. It is exclusively available for Amazon Prime users only. Unlike something like Apple Music where you pay just for the music streaming, you get services like Prime Video and free one-day delivery with Amazon Prime subscription. So, how does the Amazon Prime Music stack up in the real world? Let’s find out!
Amazon Prime service was launched in late-2016 at Rs 499 per year. That, however, has now increased to Rs 999 per year. At first, the subscription meant free one-day delivery but, it soon launched Amazon Prime Video in India. Ever since then, the video streaming service has consistently added international and local Indian content which has been appreciated across the table. With Amazon Prime Music, existing users don’t have to pay anything extra and simply need to sign in using their Amazon account.
Essentially, when you renew your Prime subscription, you pay for three services which, in a grand scheme of things, is a pretty decent amount. While we would always love things to be free, the Prime subscription for these services is pretty good. However, the conundrum is for people who don’t have a subscription. In that case, if you just want a new music streaming service, then Amazon Prime Music does not make sense. For Android users, Apple Music has made some great changes recently and costs only Rs 120 per month. So, just the Prime Music on its own is not a great value proposition.
App And UI
The Prime Music app for iOS weighs in at about 65MB, which means people still using a 16GB iPhone should not have trouble installing this app. The Android version of the app comes with a similar weight. The app UI is pretty neat and simple. The dark theme is refreshing but, there isn’t an option to enable or disable it. The four toggles at the bottom help you navigate between offline music library, Alexa and recently search/played songs.
The app also has a few gestures involved. The now playing screen gets minimised into a circle between the four bottom toggles. Once minimised, you can drag the circle to the right to move to the next song or drag it to the left to move backwards. This is a nifty feature especially when you’re browsing songs within the app while listening to something else. Instead of pulling up the Now Playing screen or the control centre, you can shift between songs.
In Apple Music, the bottom bar has the option to skip a song or pause it but, no option to go back to a song. Also, gestures are the future, and the Prime Music app uses them pretty well.
One inexcusable feature missing from this paid streaming service is lyrics. While it is not a commonly used feature, it should be available for users who pay for a music streaming service. Apple Music, for example, has this feature and so does Gaana, which is, in fact, a free streaming service. Maybe, the feature will be added in a future update.
Amazon has not been open about the total number of songs in its library. Hence, it is not possible to compare it with other services like Apple Music or Google Play Music. But, what we can say is that we found almost all the songs we searched for. Right from Where’s My Man by Velvet Underground to Attention by Charlie Puth. That, usually, is the litmus test for music streaming services if it can find a very old song and a very new song.
The interesting feature of Amazon Prime Music is its local language music. We were able to find the Telugu song Blockbuster and the Kannada song Gamanava. What we were not able to find was indie content by Indian musicians. This is where Saavn is excelling thanks to its Saavn’s Artists Original division. So, if you are into indie music and mainly independent Indian artists, then the Prime Music library won’t suffice.
Like a lot of other music streaming services, it also has curated playlists that get more accurate with more usage. We listen to a lot of classic rock and a few curated playlists had some great songs that we hadn’t heard of. And honestly, there is nothing better than to discover new songs that become an instant favourite. For example, we discovered Today by The Smashing Pumpkins and it is now a part of every playlist we listen to here.
Alexa within the app is a hit or a miss. Unless you have an Echo device or can’t type, Alexa remains unused. A lot of the times, Alexa fails to recognise a song we ask for and then just delays the time for us to start playing that song. Even famous songs like Thats The Way by Led Zeppelin was not recognised by Alexa in our daily usage.
At the end of the day, a music streaming service without a lot of music titles is a failure. Amazon Prime has most of the songs people would commonly listen to. But, the lack of independent music artists means that many young listeners would choose a different service.
It is pretty simple, if you have an Amazon Prime subscription, then the Prime Music is great. You essentially have a music and video streaming service for a price of Rs 999 per year. Compared with Apple Music’s Rs 120 per month and Google Play Music’s Rs 99 per month, and Prime Music is a steal! But, is it worth spending a thousand rupees just for the music streaming service? No. There is Saavn that has good independent music titles and is a free service albeit, annoying ads.
At the end of the day, the Amazon Prime Music as a package with other Amazon services is a great deal. On its own, it will be hard to convince customers to pay for it.
Subscription Fee Deal
Voice Support Within App
Limited Independent Indian Artists
No In-App Equaliser