According to new data, Amazon’s music streaming service, Music Unlimited, has grown by more than 70 percent over the past year. By comparison, Spotify rose just 29 percent, and Apple Music jumped by around 50 percent.
So, what’s the reason behind Amazon’s surprisingly strong growth? Some people point to the abundance of Echo smart speakers finding their way into homes. Others believe Amazon’s willingness to target non-conventional demographics may contribute to the spike. Regardless of the reasons, the service has a long way to go before it catches the industry frontrunners.
Despite Amazon’s rapid growth, Spotify still stands atop the music streaming mountain. With more than 100 million subscribers, the music titan is mostly untouchable. Barring some major setback, it should continue to see success as the world’s favorite streaming service.
However, Amazon could certainly be on track to bypass the smaller Apple Music soon. Much of this success can be attributed to its Alexa-powered Echo speakers. By default, asking Alexa to play a song will trigger a request to Amazon’s Music Unlimited. If users don’t have a subscription, they have to tell Alexa to play the song on their subscribed platform, like Spotify.
With more than 67 percent of smart speaker sales belonging to Amazon, it’s easy to see how the e-commerce giant can capture this segment of the market without challenge.
Another possible factor behind Amazon’s growth is the price of its music service. For Prime members, a Music Unlimited subscription is just $8 per month. Meanwhile, Spotify Premium and Apple Music both cost $9.99 a month. The minor discount may be just enough to convince stingy listeners to switch services.
On top of this, Amazon also offers a clever incentive for listeners already using an Echo speaker. For just $4 per month, Alexa users can stream Music Unlimited strictly on their Amazon smart speaker. This feature is appealing to casual home listeners that don’t necessarily stream music on the go.
However, low pricing isn’t the only way Amazon is creative with its music service.
While much of the music streaming industry focuses on a younger demographic, Amazon is billing itself as a service for everyone. Amazon Music VP Steve Boom said, “We’re not battling for the same customers as everyone else…For the industry to reach its full potential, we can’t just look at 15-to-22-year-olds.”
For their efforts, Amazon’s service has fostered the oldest user base of all the major streaming platforms. Over 14 percent of its users are over the age of 55.
Although Amazon has a long way to go before it catches the two leaders ahead of it, such strong growth is a positive sign. Even so, some wonder if the numbers are skewed higher due to the service’s small size and relative newness. In any case, it will be interesting to see if the growth holds in the coming year, as Music Unlimited continues its impressive run.