Amazon Music launched a free, ad-supported version of its streaming service on Monday (Nov. 18). With the new product, Amazon will be directly competing with Spotify’s popular free streaming tier, which currently boasts nearly 140 million subscribers.
News that Amazon was developing a free streaming tier was broken by Billboard back in April. Later that same month, the company introduced a free ad-supported version available to customers who owned Amazon Echo devices and certain Alexa-powered smart speakers.
The free version of Amazon’s streaming service can be accessed via the Amazon Music app for iOS, Android and Fire OS as well as through a web interface. Those who sign up will have access to a selection of top playlists and a thousands of radio stations, representing more limited range of music than those who pay $9.99 monthly ($7.99 for Prime users) for Amazon Music Unlimited. Access to the more limited Prime Music is included with every Amazon Prime subscription.
In offering a free tier, Amazon is making a calculated move to compete with Spotify, which has successfully converted millions of free listeners to paying subscribers. Though estimates of Amazon Music subscribers are difficult to come by, a Financial Times report earlier this year pegged its subscriber base at around 32 million across all of its music plans, a 70% increase year-over-year.
Though Spotify dominates in the ad-supported streaming space, a number of other streaming services including Pandora, YouTube and SoundCloud also offer free listening options. Apple Music, the second-largest streaming service in the U.S. does not offer a “freemium” model.