Amazon just got a bit more awesome.
The primary purpose of this blog is to review entertainment from a Christian perspective. However, I also occasionally talk about entertainment related things that don’t really have anything to do with worldview, just as part of being an entertainment blog. In other words, you can have the same benefit of other entertainment blogs, hearing news and reviews, knowing it’s written by someone who takes the Christian worldview seriously.
So that’s my explanation for why I’m writing this post. That seems a bit superfluous, so let’s get to it. I’ve long been a fan of Amazon, from their services for self-published authors to Amazon Smile to the many benefits of Amazon Prime. Prime users already have a variety of benefits, including free two-day shipping for Prime-eligible offers (which are a lot of things, especially in entertainment), access to Prime Instant Video, a service similar to Netflix (although the library isn’t quite as extensive), and all for only $80 per year, $40 per year if you’re a college student with a .edu email address. They’ve now added to the mix music for Amazon Prime.
So I decided to try it out. I have plenty of good things to say about it, but the first thing I’ll say is that this does not mean you should uninstall Spotify. Like Amazon Instant Video, this is a really great service with great options, but there are still some things you will want that are not available through the free streaming option. From the searching I’ve done, it seems that the trend is to offer albums of popular artists free except for certain enormously successful albums which they know they can get you to buy. For example, nearly all of Pearl Jam’s albums are available, but you have to buy Ten. Two of Paramore’s albums are available, but their newest self-titled album, and the popular Riot! are not. Some other albums I would have liked, such as the debut albums of He is We and Of Monsters and Men weren’t available at all. My guess is that as the program becomes more successful, more will be added. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t worthwhile; on the other hand, it will probably become my primary music source. It does mean, however, that you shouldn’t expect to get everything you get on Spotify.
The music selection is still really good, however. You can add the music to your own library as much as you want to, similar to the why you would in Rhapsody, if you’re familiar with that service. The interface is more or less artist and album focused, as opposed to Spotify, which is more playlist-centered. It plays beautifully, both on the desktop and android versions, never missing a beat.
Other than the selection, the only real weakness is when it comes to importing your own music. The inability to do that has long been my complaint with Spotify (you can add your own music, but cannot integrate your library with your added Spotify music). You can import your own music with Prime music, and there is a feature that allows you to match your music with music available on Prime, but you can only import 250 of your own songs for free. If you’re willing to pay $25 per year, you can upload up to 250,000 songs for free. And if you have more music than that then you have a serious problem.
I’m not crazy about this uploading limitation, given the fact that Amazon is already holding out on a good chunk of its library, making you pay for that if you want it. But, if you want to be able to use Amazon’s music feature, that’s not a bad price. Taking advantage of the Prime music plus paying for the subscription to add your own, paying only $25 per year, not to mention having all of this music commercial-free, beats Spotify’s plan options (this is, of course, assuming that you already have Prime for other purposes and aren’t buying it for the music alone).
In short, if you already have Prime then there’s no reason not to take advantage of this. It does have its limitations, but Prime is now kind of like getting Netflix, commercial-free Spotify, and free two-day shipping for a few bucks a month. I’m going to take advantage of it, and despite my cheap nature will probably end up paying to store my own music on Prime Music. You should try it out.