Amazon Music Unlimited gives users access to ad-free and unlimited music plays in lossless CD-quality or better through the Amazon Music app and Amazon Music website.
More than 100 million of Amazon's songs are available at what Amazon chooses to call HD quality (16-bit/44.1kHz sample rate, which is actually CD-quality audio), while Amazon says it has over 7 million songs available at Ultra HD (up to 24-bit/192kHz sample rate, which is better than CD-quality audio and called hi-res).
And while more sounds nice, I know the question on your mind: do you really need to be spending that extra cash? To find out, we've compared both of Amazon's services and even investigated how they stack up to Spotify and Apple Music.
Amazon Music Unlimited vs. Prime Music: Pricing structure
|Amazon Prime Music||Amazon Music Unlimited with Prime||Amazon Music Unlimited w/o Prime|
|Monthly Price||Free with Prime membership costing $14.99 per month||$8.99 / £8.99 / AU$TBC||$10.99 / £10.99 / AU$11.99|
|Monthly Student Price||Free with Prime student membership costing $7.49 per month||$0.99||$5.99|
|Library||100 million songs available at up to 320kbps||100 million songs at lossless and hi-res audio quality||100 million songs at lossless and hi-res audio quality|
Amazon's music service has two music plans. The difference proves that you get what you pay for, but the pricing structure is complicated so it's really important that you look at the fees closely to makes sure you;re getting the right deal for you.
Note: All prices listed take effect from February 21, 2023.
Following the recent price hike for Apple Music, Amazon Music Unlimited is following suit and increased the monthly fee to access it's CD-quality and hi-res audio content from $9.99 to $10.99.
Prime Music (free to Prime members) is a neat membership feature, but Music Unlimited ($8.99 per month to Prime members, or $10.99 per month without membership) provides additional ways to control what you're listening to.
Not a Prime member? You can sign up for a 30-day trial and cancel before your trial runs out.
Although Amazon Music now offers the full library to Prime members without asking you to pay extra, there are playback control restrictions and Prime Music audio quality is lower than what you get with the Prime Music Unlimited tier.
Amazon is currently offering a 30-day free Amazon Music Unlimited trial.
You can also sign up to a $4.99 per month tier that lets you use the service on a single Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Studio, or Fire TV.
Amazon is continuing its student deal on its Music Unlimited streaming service.
The offer gives Amazon Prime Student subscribers the option to tack Music Unlimited on for $0.99 per month. This offer is compatible with both annual and monthly Prime Student plans. If you're a college student who hasn't kicked the tires on Prime Student, a 6-month trial is available here.
How are Amazon Music Unlimited and Prime Music the same?
Amazon Prime Music and Music Unlimited both offer ad-free on-demand music listening with offline playback. Both are available on many devices, including the best smartphones, Amazon Echo speakers, best smart TVs, best Alexa speakers, best Macbooks and best PCs, for example.
What does Amazon Music Unlimited have that Prime Music doesn't?
Amazon Music no longer offers fewer songs than Music Unlimited, as a Nov. 1, 2022 change unlocked Amazon Music's full library for free to Prime members. The biggest difference remaining is that nearly all of that library can only be listened to on shuffle mode.
If you love to chat with Alexa, you'll also prefer Music Unlimited, which allows for a stronger set of voice commands. For example, if a friend told me that Lorde's latest record is amazing (it is), I could just say "Alexa, play Lorde's Pure Heroine album," to hear it. If your needs are less specific, just ask the assistant to play music by an artist ("Alexa, play Run The Jewels") to get a playlist of that musician's most popular tracks.
Music Unlimited also unlocks Alexa's ability to name the song that's stuck in your head. If you say "Alexa, play the song that goes, 'You see what I mean?, USDA certified lean,'" it will recognize the tune as "The Man" by The Killers. You can also ask Alexa to pull up songs from a specific decade, mood or genre.
More: Get more from Alexa with these 30 best Alexa skills.
Amazon Music Unlimited vs. Prime Music: Availability
Amazon Music Unlimited is supported by Amazon's streaming on desktop (Windows, Mac) and mobile (iOS, Android), Fire TV, and Fire Tablets. Also, third-party devices, including speakers from Sonos, McIntosh and Sennheiser.
How does Amazon Music Unlimited compare to Spotify and Apple Music?
Amazon Music Unlimited offers a library of 100 million songs, which is similar to nearest best music streaming services rivals such as Spotify and Apple Music.
Amazon Prime Music offers 100 million ad-free songs as part of its Prime subscription, so it's not strictly speaking free. Spotify's free plan offers access to it's full catalog at a lower data rate than its Premium subscription service, and has ads popping up every few tracks.
Who is Amazon Music Unlimited best for?
If you're a Prime subscriber, especially if you've got Alexa-enabled devices, you should seriously consider Music Unlimited. Not only will you save a few dollars per month over Spotify Premium or Apple Music, but you'll be using a service that's made for the speakers you've peppered your home with.
Also, one last note: if you know the difference between Garth Brooks and Chris Gaines, Amazon Music Unlimited is definitely right for you. That's because it's the only service that streams all 16 of the country western superstar's studio albums.
Contributions from: Henry T. Casey
Next: Undecided about whether Amazon Prime is worth it? Check out these Amazon Prime perks. Also, if you want to know more about Amazon's closest rivals, check out the best music streaming services we've tested.