What is Amazon Music: everything you need to know

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It’s a jungle of euphony streaming platforms retired there, truthful it stands to logic that Amazon would person 1 among its monolithic kingdom of services. And while Amazon Music mightiness not beryllium apical of mind among the Spotifys and Apple Musics of nan world, you mightiness beryllium amazed by its 100-million-song library, high-resolution and spatial audio offerings, podcast library, Alexa sound control, and a beautiful amiable personification interface that makes uncovering euphony beautiful easy.

Amazon Music’s subscriptions scope from free to its premium Music Unlimited tier, which tin beryllium added for $10 per period connected apical of a subscription to Amazon Prime. But they each travel pinch immoderate quirks and features. We’re going to break them each down for you to thief you take which, if any, Amazon Music scheme is correct for you.

Amazon Music desktop app.Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

What is Amazon Music?

Amazon Music is simply a euphony streaming work akin to Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube Music, Tidal, and Deezer. It offers a room of more than 100 cardinal songs and a wide scope of celebrated podcasts to watercourse and download for offline listening, too. Similarly to its competitors, Amazon Music users person entree to a monolithic magnitude of existent and back-catalog songs and albums and tin create their ain playlists that tin beryllium shared. It besides uses your listening habits to create recommendations: caller artists, albums, curated playlists, podcasts, and more, to thief you easy find thing bully to play For nan audiophiles retired there, Amazon Music has scheme tiers for hi-resolution lossless audio that it calls HD and Ultra HD (more connected this below), which is important if you’re considering Spotify, arsenic it currently does not.

The platform’s interface and controls are easy to usage and afloat of medium artwork and visuals (taking much than a fewer cues from Spotify) and tin beryllium accessed successful a number of ways, including iOS and Android apps, desktop apps for Mac and Windows, and web browsers, arsenic good arsenic Echo and Fire TV devices. Additionally, Amazon Music useful pinch Alexa sound control, allowing you to do things for illustration skip tracks, pause, aliases inquire it to play something, each pinch sound commands.

What plans are disposable and what do you get?

Amazon Music composite image pinch 3 screens.Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

Amazon Music Free

If you’re looking for nan entry-level acquisition to get your feet wet, its astir basal scheme is nan ad-supported Amazon Music Free, for which you do not request to person an Amazon Prime subscription to use. The bare-bones tier is simply a spot constricted (as astir ad-based, free services are), giving you entree to “millions of podcast episodes,” and thousands of playlists and stations pinch ads popping successful betwixt songs.

Perhaps astir annoying for astir group is nan truth that playback is constricted to only shuffle — meaning you can’t prime immoderate opus you want to play — and songs are not disposable successful nan lossless HD aliases Ultra HD formats. All you request is simply a modular Amazon account, and you don’t moreover request to manus complete your in installments paper information.

Amazon Music Prime

If you can’t tummy nan ads of nan Free tier, and you’re already an Amazon Prime subscriber (or are reasoning of becoming one), Amazon Music Prime is free. Not only do you get each nan perks of an Amazon Prime relationship for illustration same-day shipping and Prime Video, but nan euphony business besides opens up pinch ad-free entree to nan full 100-million opus library, podcasts, stations, and playlists. Downloads are besides made disposable astatine this level, too, which is bully because this tier only allows for playback connected 1 instrumentality astatine a time, too, unless you’re playing downloaded euphony that’s stored connected your device.

It doesn’t travel without quirks, though. While you do get entree to that expanded room (the aforesaid 100 cardinal songs arsenic nan Unlimited tier, actually), playback of albums, artists, and playlists is still constricted to shuffle mode, pinch nan objection of nan “All-Access Playlists,” which you tin pick, play, skip, and download astatine will. Things get moreover much circumstantial for Echo devices (even nan All-Access Playlists are successful shuffle mode), Fire TV (there’s music, but nary podcasts), and Fire Tablet (where nan catalog is constricted and location are nary ad-free podcasts), and you besides don’t get entree to each that HD, Ultra HD, and spatial audio goodness, either. All that said, you whitethorn conscionable want to see …

Amazon Music Unlimited

Amazon Music Unlimited is nan afloat experience. It’s fundamentally everything that nan Amazon Music Prime scheme offers pinch nary pesky shuffling aliases limits connected what you tin and cannot play; conscionable person astatine it. But I’ve buried nan lede present — Amazon Music Unlimited is each astir nan sound quality. 100 cardinal songs are disposable successful lossless HD format (that’s CD-quality 16-bit/44.1kHz, pinch an mean bitrate of 850kbps), and an undisclosed “millions” of tracks successful their top-level Ultra HD value scope (24-bit extent and sample complaint ranging from 44.1 to 192kHz and an mean bitrate 3,730kbps). These hi-resolution tracks usage nan FLAC audio codec and nan sound is crystal clear and stunning, rivaling nan sound value of competitors for illustration Tidal (which besides uses FLAC) and Apple Music (which uses nan comparable Apple ALAC codec). There are besides much than a 1000 tracks mastered successful Dolby Atmos Music and 360 Reality Audio, should you want to abstraction retired pinch immoderate immersive situation sound. Music Unlimited itself has a scope of scheme options to suit (outlined below) that person a fewer limitations, but for nan astir part, it’s a robust euphony streaming scheme worthy of consideration.

Amazon Music Unlimited showing The Beatles' Revolver (2022 Mix) successful Ultra HD.Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

Features and discovery

The Amazon Music interface is easy to navigate, and good organized — regular Spotify users will consciousness correct astatine location quickly. For nan astir part, location are not galore differences betwixt nan smartphone and desktop apps, aliases nan web player, for that matter, making nan acquisition much aliases little accordant crossed them all. The 1 point you will announcement missing from nan desktop and web subordinate experience, however, is nan Alexa fastener astatine nan bottommost of nan smartphone app that you tin property to hunt and power playback pinch sound commands. You tin besides activate this erstwhile nan app is unfastened pinch nan “Alexa” summon command.

The Home page is nan first point you spot erstwhile launching nan service, putting tabs for your music, podcasts, hunt function, and room up apical (desktop) and on nan bottommost (smartphone). The scrolling surface is simply a dense operation of your often played contented and a ton of suggestions for find — artists, stations, Top Playlists and Top Songs for what’s current, caller releases, genres, exclusive podcasts, and much — making it easy to find thing you like. If you’re successful a pinch and conscionable want to quickly put thing connected that you’ll like, My Soundtrack is an automatically-created power position playlist that’s based connected your listening habits and nan artists and tracks you’ve liked. My Discovery Mix is besides based connected your habits but serves up a playlist of caller euphony that’s refreshed each Monday.

The Library is wherever your saved albums, songs, playlists, followed podcast episodes, downloaded music, and much reside, and tin beryllium filtered arsenic you spot fit.

Like astir euphony streaming apps, nan playback barroom is minimized on nan bottommost of nan screen, and erstwhile expanded it brings up medium artwork, track/album information, playback controls, and moreover a bold yellowish icon telling you nan track’s quality: SD, HD, aliases Ultra HD. One cool characteristic is that erstwhile you pat this icon, a model pops up showing you nan way value from Amazon Music, nan digital-to-analog (DAC) conversion capacity of your instrumentality (like your iPhone aliases computer), and nan output value (like from nan iPhone’s speaker aliases a group of Bluetooth headphones). This accusation tells you precisely nan value you’re getting from nan files on nan full playback concatenation — conscionable because nan record is UHD astatine 24-bit/96kHz, your instrumentality whitethorn only beryllium tin of decoding it astatine 24-bit/44.1kHz. Additionally, if you swipe correct there’s different surface that shows specifications connected immoderate Dolby Atmos tracks you’re listening to, arsenic good (images and much connected this below).

Sharing options, lyrics, and connectivity features for Wi-Fi web speakers, Bluetooth, and AirPlay speakers are besides easy accessible from nan playback window, and there’s moreover a nosy characteristic called “X-Ray” that doles retired factoids and accusation connected what you’re listening to, arsenic good arsenic different contented suggestions.

Amazon Music composite image pinch 3 screens.Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

How overmuch is Amazon Music?

In emblematic Amazon fashion, location are respective plans that you tin get into, including nan ad-based Amazon Music Free, nan ad-free Amazon Music Prime that, for illustration Amazon Prime Video, you get free if you’re an Amazon Prime member, and nan top-tier Amazon Music Unlimited, which you tin salary a premium for connected apical of your Amazon Prime rank aliases get a la carte. Here’s really it breaks down:

Amazon Music Free: Free, nary Amazon Prime subscription is required, but nan creation of an relationship is required.

Amazon Music Prime: Included free pinch an Amazon Prime Membership, which presently runs for $15 per period aliases $139 per year. Students, however, tin get successful connected a 6-month free proceedings and past $69 per twelvemonth aft that (new members only), which besides gives you entree to Prime Video, Prime Gaming, and more.

Amazon Music Unlimited: This is nan apical of nan heap, and it offers respective subscription options.

  • Music Unlimited Individual Plan: This single-user scheme will tally you $10 per month/$99 per twelvemonth successful summation to a Prime membership, aliases $11 per period without a Prime membership. New subscribers tin snag a three-month proceedings earlier having to fork complete immoderate money.
  • Music Unlimited Family Plan: This scheme allows playback connected up to six devices astatine a clip and costs $17 per month/$169 per year. It requires an Amazon Prime subscription.
  • Music Unlimited Student Plan: In summation to nan typical student Prime complaint mentioned above, nan accustomed $6 per period student complaint for Amazon Music has besides been slashed successful an connection to 1 dollar per period for up to 4 years.
  • Music Unlimited Single-Device Plan: This one’s a spot weird arsenic it’s only disposable for Echo and Fire TV devices, doesn’t see HD aliases Ultra HD value aliases spatial audio tracks, and doesn’t let downloads. It’s $6 per period pinch a Prime membership.

How do I perceive to Amazon Music?

Amazon Music Unlimited showing 2 menus for Ultra HD streaming features.Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

Amazon euphony tin beryllium played backmost done nan Amazon Music desktop app for PC and Mac, connected iOS and Android devices, and a wide scope of different devices including Amazon Echo and Fire TV devices, Sonos systems, and Roku media streamers. Outside of nan apps, you tin entree nan subordinate done a web browser, too. You tin besides entree nan app successful immoderate cars done Android Auto aliases Apple CarPlay.

Amazon Music’s spatial audio tracks tin beryllium knowledgeable done Dolby Atmos-capable devices, specified arsenic soundbars, headphones, situation sound systems, iOS and Android devices, and nan Amazon Echo Studio speaker. Amazon Music besides supports Dolby Atmos Music connected nan Sonos Era 300.

To acquisition nan afloat grade of immoderate of nan highest-resolution Ultra HD tracks, you whitethorn require an outer digital-to-analog converter (DAC), which you tin study each astir successful our explainer.

One characteristic immoderate mightiness miss pinch Amazon Music is simply a native, built-in equalizer successful nan app that galore Apple Music and Spotify users will beryllium acquainted with. Sadly, you won’t beryllium capable to boost nan bass aliases treble of a brace of not-so-great speakers, but galore modern headphones travel pinch apps that fto you do this (and astir apt do a amended occupation arsenic well), and your car and location stereos will apt person EQ features arsenic well. Rest assured nan value of nan HD and Ultra HD tracks connected Amazon Unlimited is top-notch and decently balanced, truthful you mightiness not moreover miss it.

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