Amazon is one of those companies that’s making shopping much easier. I know, there are plenty of, “Amazon’s killing the little (or Big Box store) guy” commenters, but it’s hard to disagree that Amazon has a lot of what you want.
Well, naysayers, it’s okay to continue being upset, especially with Amazon’s newest offering: Prime Music
Enter Amazon Prime Music
I’m actually really excited about Amazon’s Prime Music service (where’s our Prime Movies app for Android), since I might actually be able to ditch other subscription services like Pandora.
Of course, it’s not as though I dislike Pandora; in fact, I quite enjoy a lot of Pandora’s music. However, Pandora’s biggest problem is that in radio mode, you hear a lot of the same songs played over and over — Glee Cast station is my favorite, if you’re interested. If you listen for awhile, that gets old, fast.
Similarly, Google Play has its music service, but it’s rather expensive ($9.99/month), and the radio feature isn’t that good. Add to that issue the fact that Google Play’s still building its music library, and you can see some more problems.
Since I actually prefer the radio feature — it’s the years I spent as a DJ — over full albums, I’m much more staunch at selecting a service.
Thus, when Amazon announced its Prime Music streaming service, I got excited.
Not ready for prime time?
Unfortunately, I quickly discovered that Amazon’s music streaming service isn’t as robust as others (including Spotify). This fact surprised me, especially given Amazon’s extensive — over 1 million songs — music library. I also discovered that Amazon’s music model, a sample then you’ll buy philosophy, makes listening to music rather cumbersome.
For example, I wanted to listen to a Paramore album, or at least a similar compilation of songs.
Since Paramore’s album was one of the recommended albums, I thought I’d be able to create a Paramore related streaming station using the album.
I had to purchase the MP3 album ($7.99) or add each song to my Prime Music library. Albums are great, but I like some variety.
Admittedly, once I added the album to my collection, I could shuffle my songs like a traditional multi-disc CD player.
That’s okay for me if I had a larger, more robust music library — perhaps even a little less Kidz Bop. Usually though, all I really want is “lazy listening,” and rarely any of the songs in my library.
Playlists are awesome
Amazon’s “radio” feature is the music playlist. Think of this like your 80’s love mix tape.
Amazon did a decent job of creating some good playlists for your music enjoyment. And just like single songs, once you’ve picked a playlist, Amazon lets you download the files for offline listening.
Amazon Prime Music is getting a lot of flak because it’s not like other services. I’m okay with that. I don’t like some of Amazon’s restrictions on playable music, but I like listening to a variety of similarly sounding songs. If that’s not your thing — i.e. you like an album — you’re probably not going to like Amazon Prime Music.
Amazon misses a big opportunity with me to “find other songs like this” and stream them together. That’s a function that Spotify does really well, and Google Play is improving.
Overall, I like the design of the Prime Music Android app. It’s easy to navigate and search. The audio quality is great, especially considering the songs flow in MP3 format.
I also love that you can download the album or track for offline listening.
If you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber and you want to save some money by ditching your $10 subscription to Google Play or Spotify, Prime Music is a good replacement. Even with some of these small issues, I had no problem enjoying the “Sounds of Seattle” playlist with all of my favorite 90’s grunge bands.