Amazon Music Unlimited takes on rivals with launch of $14.99/month Family Plan

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Amazon Music Unlimited, the company’s recently launched music service offered at a discount to Prime members, is today debuting its own Family Plan. Like its competitors, including Spotify and Apple Music, the Family Plan allows up to six people to share an account for the rate of $14.99 per month. The new plan is live now in the U.S.

While Amazon Music Unlimited’s plans for individuals let Prime customers save a couple of bucks, paying only $7.99 per month versus $9.99 per month for non-Prime members, the Family Plan’s monthly pricing is the same regardless of whether or not you have an Amazon Prime membership. That means it’s competitive with the family plans offered today by Spotify, Google Play Music and Apple Music, which are the same price.

However, this price point represents a missed opportunity for Amazon to boost its Prime subscriptions by also discounting its top-tiered plan. Even if it only cut the price by a dollar or two for Prime members, that could be a compelling selling point for choosing Amazon Music Unlimited — and Prime.

But there is one way Prime members can reap the benefits of this new plan: They can choose to pay for it on an annual basis, rather than by the month.

That brings the cost down to $149 per year (which works out to $12.42 per month). Of course, many people prefer the monthly option because it makes paying for service more affordable by not requiring such a large lump sum.

img_0299Cost isn’t the only thing that differentiates Amazon’s music service, though.

Arguably, Spotify and Apple Music customers may prefer the overall experience of those services in terms of the apps’ look-and-feel, feature sets, including highly personalized playlists and recommendations, as well as other integrations, like the ability to control your music from your Apple Watch.

However, Amazon smartly leverages its connected assistant Alexa to bring its own unique take on music streaming.

You can ask Alexa to perform common actions, such as playing songs from a particular artist or band or by naming a track. But you can also ask her for more general options, like “play kid’s music,” or to play “the new song” from a favorite band. And you can ask her to curate Amazon’s music catalog in other interesting ways, like by asking for a selection of “the most popular rock from the 90s,” for example, or asking for a playlist based on your mood.

Plus, you can even ask her to play songs by quoting some lyrics to her, in case you don’t know the track’s title.

In addition, each Family Plan member gets their own personalized recommendations and playlist suggestions, as is standard elsewhere.

Of course, Amazon Music Unlimited’s recommendations aren’t as surprising and on point as Spotify’s, whose “Discover Weekly” playlist remains one of the service’s best selling points. But Amazon Music’s connection with the Echo speaker cannot be overlooked. In some ways, it’s more like you’re paying for a new trick for your Echo rather than a standard music service.

The service also works across Amazon Fire devices, iOS, Android, Sonos players and more.

With the addition of the Family Plan, you can now pick from four subscription options. In addition to the Family Plan, there’s the discounted plan for individual Prime members ($7.99/mo or $79/year), the plan for non-Prime members ($9.99/mo) and the Echo-only plan ($3.99/mo for use on a single Echo, Echo Dot or Amazon Tap).