Thursday, June 12, 2014

Amazon's PRIME MUSIC feature launches with more than a million songs for unlimited streaming by Prime members at no additional cost. Update2: Prime Music apps are ready for Android and iOS

Update2 - Amazon sent out an email today that said the iOS and Android apps are ready.
  Go to the new Prime Music apps page for these.

  Also, apparently, per the email just now, the software updates for the Kindle Fire HDX and HD 2nd Gen tablets also include the Prime Music capabiility, although the software pages linked to in this morning's blog article on the software updates did not say that.

[Blog article posted yesterday]
Amazon's new banner alert today explains it pretty well.  To see the listing of some of the artists, songs, and works included in the newly launched Prime Music program's free, unlimited streaming, see the separate blog page I made for the info on artist and recommended playlists (we can of course create our own and add to existing ones):
  Prime Music - What and who's included in that Million plus?

The Prime Music feature is included at no added cost under the Prime program (free 2-day shipping is the basic feature, and Amazon's no-added-cost streaming Instant Video (over 40,000 movies and TV episodes) was added on top of that along with free rentals (one per calendar month) from an Amazon library of over 593,000 Kindle books -- no waiting-periods, no due dates -- and the new "free" music feature is, furthermore, ad-free, even with a base of over 1 million songs and "hundreds of playlists" with unlimited listening.  Negotiations with music publishers must have been interesting.

Amazon's press release is printed on several news sites this morning.  Included is this:
' Prime members can choose exactly which songs and albums to listen to, or they can sit back and listen to hundreds of expert-programmed Prime Playlists.

  Discovering music is easy thanks to Amazon’s personalized recommendations.  Music fans will find tons of music they’ll love, from Grammy winners to indie breakout singers, along with a huge music catalog that can easily be combined with their own collection.

  Prime members can also download songs from the Prime Music catalog to their mobile devices for offline playback on planes, trains and anywhere they’re without an internet connection. '

The new Prime Music streaming service is available only in the U.S. and Puerto Rico though.

Amazon adds examples of how this would be used.  I updated the blog to include the points below]:
' What Prime Music means for Prime members:

* Your music collection just got a lot bigger—for free with Prime: Over a million songs from artists like Daft Punk, P!nk, Bruno Mars, Blake Shelton, The Lumineers, Bruce Springsteen and Madonna, and hundreds of Prime Playlists, are now available for streaming and offline playback at no additional cost to your Prime membership, with new music added all the time.
* Your mix. Your music: Mix Prime Music songs with your own personal music collection to create the library you’ve always wanted.
* You be the DJ or let us be the DJ -- it’s your choice: Build the perfect playlist by choosing songs you already love or songs you just discovered through Amazon’s personalized recommendations. Or, just sit back and listen to one of our hundreds of Prime Playlists designed for all types of genres, occasions, artists, moods and activities, like “Feel Good Country,” “Bad Boy Rock,” “Beards & Baristas: Indie Beats,” “Hip-Hop Workout,” “'90s One-Hit Wonders,” and many others.
* No interruptions from ads: Enjoy an ad-free listening experience with unlimited skips and repeat plays.
* Listen where you want: Enjoy Prime Music on Kindle Fire HD/HDX, iOS, Android, PC, Mac and any Web browser.
* Take it offline: Download your favorite songs and Prime Playlists for offline playback on mobile devices.  With offline playback, you can enjoy your music wherever you are—and you can avoid costly data plan charges.

Prime members in the U.S. can start listening to Prime Music today at (Kindle Fire HD/HDX devices will get Prime Music in an automatic, over-the-air update
  [Note from ab:I don't know if this was included in the June 6 Kindle Fire software update.]

  Customers can [will be able to] also download the latest Amazon Music app in the Android and iOS app stores.  Eligible customers who are not already Prime members can try Prime Music with a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime by visiting '

The first mentions I saw of Amazon's new Prime feature were from ZDNet and AppleInsider sites last night.

ZDNet's Matthew Miller writes:
' Until the iOS and Android Amazon Music apps (currently known as Amazon MP3) are updated you can log in through your web browser and stream music.  You will see buttons to add songs to your library, which can take a while to build up your library.  It is easier to go through their created playlists and add and enjoy these titles.  The mobile apps should be released soon.
  . . .
Amazon lets you upload just 250 of your own songs for free or pay $24.99/year for up to 250,000 songs...
  . . .
  . . .with today's release of Amazon Prime Music, I can now stop paying monthly for Google Music All Access and stream and download all the songs I want from Amazon's server.  I also like that I can access Prime Music and my own uploaded collection of songs from multiple devices and computers. '

He mentions that that now he's saving $95/year, as he no longer feels he needs the Google Music subscription, although Google has more songs available.

From AppleInsider:
' A mix between existing free services like Pandora and for-pay options like the Apple-owned Beats Music, Amazon's solution takes a middle-of-the-road approach by focusing on ad-free playback, loosely curated playlists and manual track searching.
  . . .
' Playlists range from 20 to 30 songs, are curated by "Amazon's Music Experts" and come with titles like "Pop to Make You Feel Better," "Boss, Not Bossy" and "Bedford Ave. Hipster Hits."  More generic collections include hits from popular bands and artists, while single tracks can be found by searching the Prime Music library.
. . .
Users can add to a Prime Music library, which is accessible on Macs and PCs via Amazon's CloudPlayer, while smartphone playback is handled by the Amazon Music app.

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  1. I've installed on my iPod and Android tablet.

    The latter doesn't support landscape mode. I thought it used to, but all the evidence is erased. (the Google Play listing screenshots are all phone-like, i.e. portrait). Wish they'd let you download for offline usage, I don't like to always rely on streaming.

    1. Tom, no landscape mode for the phone apps? That's awful. (At least you get one -- my Nokia Lumia is Windows and does not get the Amazon music app !
      They do let you download Prime Music, and I would do it for important songs especially since their contracts may end with certain ones and then the pieces are gone. At least putting out revised apps does not affect as many basic Kindle Fire customers and the basic functioning of the software on the Fire, and I imagine that's why they were so slow to put out whatever has fixed some rare (but frustrating for those affected) WiFi problems since they probably wanted to include that in the same update as the feature "whose name dared not be mentioned" until official release time.

    2. This update was at least the second in a row that was not 'feature bearing'. I remember the previous one was rumored to have fixed wifi issues as well. I haven't noticed any wifi issues for awhile, before my Fire was pretty singular in having problems when all my other devices were working okay.

      Apart from that I've had some issues with TTS: 1) it would not always use the default voice, and 2) it would stop reading (often when it ran into an image file, or chapter boundary, 3) after stopping it would not restart until you paged forward a few pages. have not determined whether any of this is fixed yet.

    3. I've used the tablet version of the computerized voice only once. The female reads more naturally than 'Tom' does -- but the running together of paragraphs or chapters was frustrating. But it's nice for newspapers when you're busy. Interesting -- the eInk versions did not have to deal with large image files or complex layouts put together by other than Amazon...

  2. Just read some of the Google Play reviews. They did break landscape mode, so I wasn't imagining it. Sheesh, I'm going to get a stiff neck from tilting my head to use it.. And I was wrong: you can download Prime music (as noted above). The selection is not very extensive, but there's a lot of stuff I'll enjoy listening to.

    Oddly, I'm seeing more albums when browsing by genre on iOS than on Android (40 vs 25 in 'Classical'). The website has many more than either (it is saying '894' though I'm not going to count them). So obviously the thing to do is to add things to your library using a web browser rather than the mobile apps.

    1. The selection is far more extensive than I originally thought -- found when using Search. They have almost every Elvis recording ever made,on Prime. I love to gather old classics from the 50s to 70s and got the Platters, Righteous Brothers, Drifters today and the 2-album of big hits by Billy Joel. I added only via Kindle Fire's Prime Music built-in app. Hitting the 'See more" at top right helps with each set of items but the Search is what really brings things up (as well as "related" or similar content...

    2. The selection is much better than it appeared at first, yes. I was up kind of late exploring and there is certainly a lot there. But there are a lot of gaps, particularly as you depart from mainstream artists, and at least one of my favorite jazz labels, ECM, is not there at all. So there is nothing for Keith Jarrett, for example. And nothing from Blue Note records either as far as I can tell.

    3. Tom, I imagine most publishers won't be that keen to allow almost unlimited (and downloadable) access to what they feel is popular content for subscription, at least not for what Amazon's said-to-be tough negotiations allow...


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