According to sources close to the matter, Amazon is currently in discussion with record labels as the company reportedly gears up to launch a music streaming contender in the same vein as Spotify. The service would most likely debut as part of the bundled goods included with Amazon Prime, the retailer’s membership plan that provides free two-day shipping as its main perk.
Also included with Prime, however, is a Netflix-style movie and television streaming service. The launch of streaming music makes sense as an added incentive for those willing to pay the $79.99 yearly subscription fee, although one label source expressed doubt that Amazon would be able to strike a deal in the near future. Amazon is apparently seeking a better deal from labels than the agreements with competing services like Spotify and the relatively young Beats Music platform.
As the company continues to beef up its streaming video offering with original content, that addition of a music platform would help to position Amazon Prime as more than a way to secure cheap or free shipping, which is largely the purpose it serves for most users. Amazon presumably would like video and music to become an equal part of the equation, especially if they go through with plans to raise the yearly fee to as much as $120.
As of now, it is estimated Amazon spends $1 billion per year for video content that sees low engagement from Prime users. Many are simply oblivious to the content they already have access to, which could mean a similar lukewarm reception for a music streaming platform. But in an industry where nearly every major player hosts their own version of internet radio — whether it be Play Music All Access, iTunes Radio, or any other number of options — it would be more surprising if Amazon did not eventually roll out its own competitor.