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ECHO, ECHO

Amazon is reportedly making a half-priced Spotify—but there’s a big catch

Amy Harris/Invision/AP
Not quite magic.
By Amy X. Wang
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Jeff Bezos isn’t one to cower from a challenge, which is why his company Amazon is set on disrupting almost every industry out there.

And it’s why the latest field Bezos is looking to rattle—music streaming—should be looking out.

Amazon already offers a music service as part of its Amazon Prime package, aimed at mainstream music fans and casual listeners. Now, Recode is reporting that the company also has ambitions to launch two new (and likely larger, and standalone) music streaming platforms. According to its industry sources, the first will be a $10-a-month streaming buffet à la Spotify and Apple Music. Standard features, business as usual.

The second service is more interesting because it’ll exactly the same, but will cost only $4-5 a month—because subscribers must use an Amazon Echo to listen. That the company is tying its audio ambitions to its Echo product isn’t surprising; though the voice-activated device has proven a sleeper hit in the months since its launch, Amazon is aiming even higher and wants to sell 10 million units (paywall) in the next year.

But while Apple’s forced installation of Apple Music on all iPhones may have worked out in that music service’s favor (if subscriber numbers are anything to go by, anyway), the Amazon Echo isn’t nearly as ubiquitous or well-used a product, so it remains to be seen how much interest the platform will truly draw.

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