Amazon music streaming talks teased for Prime

Feb 27, 2014
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Amazon is in talks with major record labels around bundling music alongside movies and TV shows to Amazon Prime subscribers, it's reported, though aggressive negotiations are said to be stymieing the likelihood of any immediate deal. The online retail behemoth already bundles Amazon Prime Instant Video access for those paying $79 per year for unlimited two-day shipping on their orders, but has supposedly been in talks for several months about including Spotify and iTunes Radio style streaming too.

The retailer's demanding terms, however, are said to be proving controversial among music industry execs. Amazon is said to be insisting on a "substantial discount" compared to the deals signed by Spotify, Beats Music, and Rhapsody, Re/code reports.

Unsurprisingly, that said to have not gone down well with the music industry, who have already have widely-reported complaints about how much they make from "free" services that stream music rather than use a pay-per-download model.

It's unclear how, exactly, the Amazon music service would operate. If it works in the manner of Amazon Prime Instant Video, it would allow on-demand access to specific tracks, much in the way of Spotify's plans.

However, an alternative could be more akin to iTunes Radio, where listeners do not pay for access but have less precise control over what they stream. Instead of direct control over playlists, iTunes Radio takes an initial artist or track and then generates a custom "radio station" of similar music.

Amazon recently warned that it may have to increase the price of Prime by as much as $40 per year, making it $119. In December 2013, CEO Jeff Bezos described the scheme as having "tens of millions" of subscribers, though the company has not released exact figures.

A streaming system would make sense given what else is said to be on the company's roadmap. That includes a streaming stick or set-top box tipped for the spring to take on the Apple TV and Google's Chromecast.


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