As a Spotify Alternative, Amazon Music is Fine

As a Spotify Alternative, Amazon Music is Fine
Image: Marvel

Alternatives to Spotify has been something many people have been discussing of late. The downside to leaving Spotify is the years of listening data the app has on you resulting in bang-on playlists and weekly recommendations. There’s also that Spotify Wrapped thing that I for some reason really enjoy.

But as I work my way around the different music streaming services, starting with Amazon Music, I realise there’s not a whole lot I’m missing out on by not using Spotify.

Amazon Music (even the free version) is actually pretty good – who would have thought the company with a tonne of data on people around the world could nail a listening experience, eh?

Amazon Music Free

You need an Amazon account. If you don’t have one, sign up is pretty straight forward. You don’t need to pay for anything, but this is the account you will use for shopping on amazon.com and signing into Amazon Prime Video. You don’t need an Amazon Prime account, however.

Signing in, you had to select your music preferences. Upon selecting the first band I saw that I liked, it re-populated the list a little better. Within three quick selections, it basically knew my music taste. I’ve never felt so seen. It then populates your music into a nice little playlist.

Amazon music

I started using the free version, downloaded purely to review the Amazon Echo Buds. The approach here was Apple has Apple Music to listen to through the Apple AirPods, the Google Pixel has the Pixel Buds to add to its experience, so let’s give the Amazon Echo Buds something it knows to boost my review from bad to at least mediocre. And it did.

Taking a screenshot of the song that’s playing allows you to tap to share the song with a friend, which is a good feature, I do this all the time on other streaming services. Upon clicking on the link, the recipient gets taken to the Amazon Music website to download the Amazon Music app, no preview of the song, unfortunately.

Exiting the curated playlist takes me to the homepage of the app, with a prompt to ask if I wanted to stay in the loop of when artists I like drop new music. Thanks Amazon, I do in fact want to stay in the loop.

Amazon music

The experience after that is pretty on-par with Spotify. There’s stations based on the music I said I’ve liked, as well as other popular ones, such as ‘80s Summer’, ‘Classic Australian Rock’ and ‘Oldies Hits’. You can also search for music via stations, playlists, charts, new releases. From an artist’s page, you can select ‘Play similar music’. You can download songs/playlists to play without chewing your data (or to listen while on a plane, when that becomes a thing again).

Amazon Music Unlimited

Using the free version, the only downside is the ads every three songs and the inability to play a specific song from an album (also your play is limited, as are your skips). As this is important to me, I signed up to the three-month trial of Amazon Music Unlimited (this is usually 30 days, but Amazon is running a promotion at the moment that extends that another 60 days).

After a three-month free trial, Amazon Music Unlimited will set you back $11.99 a month. Spotify is $0.04 cheaper, at $11.05 a month, Apple Music is $17.99 a month, YouTube Music is also $17.99 a month and Deezer will set you back $12.99 a month. So monthly cost for Amazon Music Unlimited is fine.

With the free version you get: top playlists, curated playlists on demand and thousands of Stations. None of that is in HD or Ultra HD, and you miss out on spatial audio. With Amazon Music Unlimited, you get 90 million songs in HD, plus a few million in Ultra HD.

There’s no cap on how much music you listen to, you also don’t have to sit through the ads. Porting over my Spotify playlists was also seamless using SongShift (we’ve got instructions on that over here).

The more I listen, no doubt the more Amazon Music will learn my tastes, but a week in, it’s doing pretty well. The only downside is the inability to hook Amazon Music up to Google Home speakers.