Amazon Music is proud of how mainstream you are

You really just want all Coldplay, all the time.
You really just want all Coldplay, all the time.
Image: Reuters/Mike Blake
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Spotify and Apple Music can give you access to 30 million songs. Tidal and Deezer, 40 million. SoundCloud, a boastful 125 million.

With these expansive catalogs available, would anyone opt for the paltry one-million-track library of Amazon Music instead?

Amazon seems to think so, for two reasons. One: Its music streaming service comes bundled with the retail juggernaut’s $99-a-year Prime shopping and delivery service, making it both technically a better deal than $10-a-month services like Spotify, and an easy, passive add-on. Two: As Amazon’s UK music head Paul Firth told CNET this week, most music consumers don’t seem to take advantage of those other services’ massive libraries anyway.

Explains Firth:

[Amazon Music is a] mainstream music-streaming service for the mainstream music fan. There are ways of discovering new music through Prime Music, but what we’ve seen more is rediscovery of music—people who aren’t spending a lot of money but are music fans and are now rediscovering music from their past.

In other words, most listeners in the world seem perfectly content to use streaming only for big hits they’ve already heard many times over—and not the niche, indie tracks that comprise the bulk of other services’ catalogs. So Amazon sees no need to expand its library beyond old classics and obligatory chart-toppers. Some of Amazon Music UK’s most-streamed artists are Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, and the Beatles, Firth noted.

This strategy of catering to the mainstream is the total opposite of the current trend in music streaming, which is focusing more on personalization and curation. Then again, Amazon doesn’t really tend to follow the crowd. Prime Music, which is still in its early days, may prove itself a sleeper hit like the Amazon Echo—and, indeed, like Prime itself, which, the company notes, ”many skeptics thought we were crazy” for launching.