Making a choice isn’t always easy, especially when you must compare the features of two similar things to reach a decision. This is especially true when it comes to choosing services. Picking the best provider for streaming music, for example, can be really difficult since there are so many companies that offer this service, and, many of the key features are similar, regardless of the provider.
Amazon currently has two music services, Amazon Prime and Amazon Music Unlimited, and both offer an easy way for Amazon Prime members to stream ad-free music. This brief overview compares the advantages offered by each one to make it easier to choose the best based on your needs.
Prime Music vs. Music Unlimited – Shared Features
Both services share several features, which has led to some confusion. For example, both allow users to stream music, ad-free, on many of their favorite devices.
Users can also download their favorite tunes for offline playback, create stations based on favorite songs and artists, and listen to thousands of curated playlists and stations, on both services.
Sharing your favorite music is easy with both services, just send your friends a link to your favorite songs, artists, playlists and more. These services also make recommendations based on prior listening history and user ratings.
To control your Amazon music via Alexa, you will need a compatible device, such as the Amazon Echo, Dot or Tap. Both services are also compatible with a host of other devices, including: Web, Windows and Mac, iOS and Android.
Amazon Fire products also work with these services, including Fire Tablets, TV and TV Stick. Many smart sound and speaker systems work with Amazon Music as well, such as Sonos, Bose SoundTouch, Play-FI and HEOS devices.
Price: You May Already Have Amazon Prime Music
One of the most perplexing things about streaming Amazon music is its cost, since there so many pricing plans.
If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you already have free access to Amazon Prime Music. It’s included in your annual prime membership fee of $99.
To sign up for the Echo plan, you will need to enroll via Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa. Just say, “Alexa, try Music Unlimited,” to get started streaming on a single Amazon smart speaker. Keep in mind that if you want to stream your music to more than one device, the $3.99 plan doesn’t allow you to do this.
If you’re not a Prime member, Music Unlimited is just $9.99 a month. There is also a family plan that allows you to add up to six members of your household for $14.99 a month/ $149 a year. This plan is the same price, whether you have a Prime membership, or not.
If you are attending a college or university that offers degrees, you might be eligible for the best deal of all. For $4.99 a month, or $49 a year, verified college students can get an individual Music Unlimited Plan.
While both services allow you to listen to your favorite music on demand, without having to deal with audio ads, the size of their catalogs is one of the biggest differences between them.
Prime Music allows you to listen to over two million different song tracks, with Unlimited, it’s “tens of millions.”
Both services are constantly reviewing the music tracks in their catalogs. Both add new content all the time. Occasionally, both services remove tracks as well.
If a song or album that you’ve listened to before has been removed from the Prime Music catalog, it will still show up in your music library, but will be greyed out. Sometimes, tracks that are removed from Prime Music’s catalog are still available with Music Unlimited, so, one way to regain access to it is to upgrade to Unlimited.
You may also be able to regain access to a specific song or album if it’s available in Amazon’s Digital Music Store and you buy it.
One thing that’s also a bit confusing is that sometimes, tracks and albums may appear greyed out in your music library, but still be available in the catalog. This typically happens when users haven’t connected to a wireless network within 30 days. To regain access, you don’t need to buy or upgrade anything. Just use the Amazon Music App while you are online for at least 10 minutes to regain access to these tracks.
Playing Music on Multiple Devices
Prime Music users can stream music to only one device at a time. They can download music on up to four devices. At this time, it is possible to playback downloaded music on one device while streaming it to one of your other devices at the same time.
Music Unlimited offers greater flexibility when it comes to playback. Users can stream the same music on up to six devices at the same time.
If you have the family plan with it, each family member can stream music on up to six devices simultaneously. You can also play different music on each different device, but only with the family plan. Each member of your household also has their own profile, libraries and playlists as well.
Storing and Accessing Your Existing Music Files
If you’re a hardcore music lover, chances are great that you already have a lot of music files of your own. If you want to be able to access and control them via Alexa, you will need to upload them to your Amazon Music.
Amazon Prime will allow you to upload and store about 250 songs, with Music Unlimited, that number jumps to 250,000! Keep in mind that any digital or physical music that you’ve purchased from Amazon in the past doesn’t count towards these storage limits.
Which Amazon Music Service is the Best?
Both Prime Music and Music Unlimited are a good choice for existing Amazon Prime members. Users that have one or more Alexa compatible smart speakers will also benefit from either service. Music Unlimited may be the best choice of the two if you enjoy streaming different music in multiple rooms, and prefer having more choices and greater control over the music that you listen to.