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Amazon Throws Hat Into Music Streaming Battle

Tim Maytom

amazon music unlimited echoAmazon has launched a full-fledged music streaming service, officially positioning itself as a rival to Spotify, Apple Music and other streaming services.

At the base level, 'Amazon Music Unlimited' will let users access a vast catalogue of songs on demand for $9.99 (£8.17) a month, but the service is designed to synergise with Amazon's other offerings. Prime members will pay a reduced subscription of $7.99 a month, while owners of Amazon's Echo smart speaker pay just $3.99 a month.

Amazon is relying on the Echo and its voice control system to push adoption and help distinguish its streaming service from its more established rivals. Echo has proven a surprise hit for the company which has often struggled to launch hardware, which many industry experts attribute to its natural language interface, an increasingly popular method of using technology.

The company has certainly made Alexa, the digital assistant that powers Echo, a central feature of the streaming service, boasting of innovative voice controls for the platform when used in conjunction with the smart speaker.

"If you want a sense of the future of voice-controlled music, go ahead and ask Alexa for a free Music Unlimited trial, and play around on your Echo," said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon. "If you don't know the name of a song but know a few lyrics, if you want to hear songs from a specific decade, or even if you're looking for music to match your mood, just ask."

Prime members will still be able to access a limited streaming service as part of their annual fee, although Amazon's new offering boasts a much larger library of music.

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