Amazon's River of Sound

The subscriber base is huge. But the new Prime music service is missing some hits

When Amazon launched its Amazon Prime music service on June 12, it immediately became one of the largest paid interactive music services in the country by one measure - the size of its subscriber base. The company officially has not disclosed how many customers subscribe to Amazon Prime, paying an annual fee for free, speedy shipping and a movie and TV service. But one executive puts the figure in the millions in the United States - and tens of millions worldwide.

The downside: The new service is not for those looking to stay on top of the latest hit albums. Amazon Prime allows users to download or stream songs, and even purchase music through a buy button. But it has only 1 million tracks, and most new music won't be available until a six-month "hold back" window expires. A bigger issue: Universal Music Group has not signed on to the deal - meaning Amazon is missing nearly 40 percent of the U.S. market.


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