Amazon launches its Prime Music service in India

Amazon has quietly launched its Prime Music service in India today.

The retailer brought its Prime service to India some 18 months ago, but at the time it was lacking the free music and video streaming services. Amazon added the Prime Video months later, but it has taken some time for the music service to be deemed ready for the market.

Medianama — where we first read of today’s launch — reported that Amazon has inked deals with five labels for India, including Sony Music. Previously, the music service was limited to those in India who owned an Echo device — they began shipping to India last October — but now it can be accessed by Prime customers via the web and apps for iOS and Android.

Amazon had not replied to a request for comment at the time of writing.

Prime membership in India is Rs 999 per year, or around $15. That’s pretty favorable against the competition, which includes Saavn (Rs 1050), Gaana (Rs 1020) and Apple Music (Rs 1200). Added to that, of course, Amazon customers get the video service and Prime e-commerce details.

It looks like Amazon Music will have an edge over its competition, as the Amazon Prime membership comes at Rs 999 per year, which gives access to video streaming, free delivery from Amazon’s e-tail space on select items, and now the ad-free music service as well. As compared to this, Saavn comes at a yearly fee of Rs 1050, Times Internet’s Gaana at Rs 1020, Apple Music comes at Rs 1200 per year.

Amazon’s timing is pretty interesting, coming as does just hours after Gaana announced a big $115 million funding round that sees $500 billion Chinese internet giant Tencent join as an investor. The Gaana news leaked out during Tuesday U.S. time, so it isn’t impossible that Amazon planned its launch for today in a bid to steal the limelight.

This isn’t the first time Amazon has dunked on a competitor’s big news day. Long-time readers will remember that the U.S. firm announced a then-unprecedented $2 billion investment in its India-based business in 2014 that was timed just hours after rival Flipkart announced a massive $1 billion investment.

Amazon has since cranked up its investment in India, which stands at nearly $5 billion to date. Flipkart, meanwhile, has also recruited Tencent. The Chinese firm invested $1.4 billion last April alongside fellow big names Microsoft and eBay.