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Technology

Could Amazon Be Spotify's Next Competitor?

According to the New York Post, Amazon is reportedly working on a full-fledged music subscription service, because sure, why not?

[Photo: Flickr user www.Pixel.la Free Stock Photos]

If you're a giant tech company in 2016 and you don't have your own Spotify-killing, all-you-can-stream music subscription service, what good are you?

That's apparently the vibe around Silicon Valley these days—and Amazon is feeling it. The company is reportedly working on its own music subscription service, according to the New York Post. The as-yet-unnamed service would be a more robust expansion of Prime Music, which offers 1 million on-demand tracks to members of Amazon's free shipping membership program. There's no word on how many tracks the new service would offer—those negotiations are still underway—but Spotify has over 30 million songs, which is roughly in line with the industry standard.

According to the Post, Amazon's new service would start at around $10 per month—like Spotify and Apple Music—but would be available for less to customers who buy an Echo smart speaker. The Echo is currently integrated with Prime Music, which lets users stream from Amazon's library or their own digital locker.

Amazon would join Google and Apple in the increasingly competitive streaming music space dominated by Spotify. Reports of a Facebook-owned music service surfaced last year as well, but the company quickly dismissed the rumors.

In 2013, Google launched its own all-you-can-stream subscription service on top of Google Play, followed by a similar offering from YouTube. But nobody could send shockwaves through the streaming music industry like the company that popularized legal music downloads. Last year, Apple famously sounded the death knell of the digital download and welcomed the age of streaming with the launch of Apple Music; despite only being seven months old, the service is said to have over 10 million subscribers. Pandora, for its part, is using the recently acquired guts and talent of Rdio to build its own on-demand music subscription service—and we're already starting to see glimpses of that in Pandora's freshly redesigned mobile app. And then there's European streaming service Deezer and Jay-Z's Tidal, the latter of which just saw the exclusive streaming debut of Rihanna's newest album.

So far, Spotify isn't taking a noticeable hit from all these well-resourced competitors. The company boasts over 20 million subscribers—and a total of 75 million active users—and is reportedly seeking $500 million in new funding. At last count, Spotify was valued at $8.4 billion.

Amazon would be arriving late to a crowded space, but it might not matter: The company is accustomed to operating without turning a huge profit. As with Google and Apple, Amazon can afford to run a service like this alongside its more lucrative businesses for quite some time. If only every other streaming music company were so lucky.

[via The Verge]

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