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Amazon Music Expands Access to Free Streaming Service, Spotify Stock Falls

The free version of Amazon’s music-streaming service is now available across more platforms, bolstering competition with Spotify’s free tier.

Starting Monday, Amazon said, customers can now listen to Amazon Music’s ad-supported selection of top playlists and thousands of stations for free. It’s available to anyone in the U.S., U.K. and Germany who doesn’t have a Prime membership or a subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited.

Notably, however, users can’t play back specific songs on demand with the free, ad-supported Amazon Music tier; they can only access music via stations and playlists like All Hits, Pop Culture, Fuego Latino, Country Heat, All ’80s, Ultimate Classical and Rap Rotation. Users who try to access specific songs, albums or artists see a prompt to sign up for an Amazon Music Unlimited subscription. Also, the free version doesn’t allow users to download songs for offline playback.

The ecommerce giant previously launched Amazon Music’s free streaming tier in the U.S. for customers of its Alexa voice assistant in April 2019. Now, the free, ad-supported service is available on the Amazon Music app for iOS, Android and Fire TV, as well as the web.

The announcement prompted Spotify shares to slump — with the stock closing down 4.9% Monday. Spotify’s free, ad-supported tier is more full-featured than Amazon Music’s, allowing for user-created playlists and the ability to play music on-demand on PCs.

Amazon continues to offer access to its catalog of over 2 million songs to Prime members for no additional charge and with no ads.

In addition, the ad-free Amazon Music Unlimited provides access to 50 million songs and the latest new releases; currently, the company is offering four months of Amazon Music Unlimited for 99 cents (an offer the expires Jan. 6, 2020). Regularly, Amazon Music Unlimited costs $7.99 per month (or $79 per year) for an annual subscription for Prime members; for non-Prime customers, the regular fee is $9.99 per month.

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