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Amazon Eyeing Standalone Music Streaming Service?

Tim Maytom

Amazon EchoAmazon may be preparing to launch a standalone, subscription-based music streaming service for mobile and desktop, expanding on its Amazon Music offering and placing it in more direct competition with offerings from Apple, Spotify and other streaming services.

According to Reuters, which cited two people familiar with the matter, the service will be offered at $9.99 (£7.02) a month, in line with rival services, and will offer a competitive catalogue of songs. Amazon is reportedly finalising licenses with labels for the service, with plans to launch in the late summer or early autumn.

Amazon already offers a free streaming service with a limited catalogue to its Prime subscribers, alongside its streaming video service. The new offering will continue Amazon's efforts to transform itself into a one-stop shop for digital content, as well as physical goods, and will complement its Amazon Echo smart home speaker.

In order to compete with services like Apple Music and Spotify, which have catalogues of around 30m songs, Amazon may seek to establish exclusive deals with recording artists or record labels. However, while the firm certainly has the retail heft to establish such a deal, it lacks the experience in the music industry that both Apple and Spotify can claim, so may struggle to find exclusive artists.

Apple Music, which launched last year, has managed to hit 10m subscribers in an impressively short period, with industry experts predicting it will become the second-largest music streaming service by the end of the year. The platform is expected to be among the services receiving an overhaul in tonight's WWDC announcements from Apple.

While an offering from Amazon is unlikely to steal many users away from Spotify, it could slow Apple Music's rise, as well as hurting smaller players such as Tidal and Deezer. The surprise popularity of the Echo could also serve as a springboard to power the service's launch, if the two are well integrated.

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