Amazon takes Prime Music streaming international with UK launch

The online retailer hopes curated playlists at a lower annual price tag will lure Brits away from Apple Music and Spotify.

Luke Westaway Senior editor
Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.
Luke Westaway
2 min read

Prime Music launched in the US last year, and is now branching out. Amazon

Amazon is today bringing its Prime Music streaming service to the UK, in a bid to battle Apple Music and Spotify on an international level.

Amazon, which started life as an online book retailer 20 years ago, has today grown into an online behemoth, selling streaming subscriptions to movies, TV shows and music, among many other things. Its music streaming service, which pumps music directly to your computer or smartphone, was launched in the US in June of last year and is now making its way to the UK, where it will be competing with popular service Spotify and Apple's own recently-launched music service .

Access to Prime Music comes via Amazon's Prime membership, which costs £79 a year ($99 in the US), and also opens the doors to Amazon Prime Instant Video, which is the company's streaming video service, as well as faster delivery for physical items

With the battle for streaming supremacy heating up across the globe, Amazon will be hoping that Prime customers in the UK who may be as-yet undecided will ally themselves with the service they're already paying for, rather than splash out extra on Spotify or Apple Music. Keeping Prime customers happy -- and attracting new ones -- is crucial to Amazon's growth plans, as Prime customers tend to spend nearly twice as much on Amazon every year than non-Prime customers.

Prime Music lets you download tracks to your phone for offline listening, and will be available through the Amazon Music app for Apple's iOS and Google's Android mobile operating systems. It'll also be making an appearance on Fire TV, the Fire TV Stick, as well as Amazon's Fire HD and HDX tablets, and the Fire phone. Amazon is offering Brits playlists curated by British music industry experts, and says that Prime Stations -- the algorithmically-driven playlists that are currently available to US customers -- will be coming to the UK version in time. Amazon says it's only extending its streaming offering to the UK for now.

Prime Music boasts over 1 million tracks, which isn't as large a catalogue as Spotify or Apple Music. Amazon however points out that its two major streaming rivals have a higher annual subscription cost of £120 (or $120 in the US), and says that it's not competing head-to-head with Apple Music and Spotify, with Paul Firth, head of music for Amazon UK telling CNET, "We don't need them to fail for us to win."