The move is an attempt to attract U.S.-based customers who have yet to sign up for Amazon Prime or Amazon Music Unlimited. The services compete with Apple Music and Spotify.
U.S. Amazon customers with an Echo or other supported device can ask Alexa to play stations based on an era, genre, song, or artist the selections will play through the device.
The free service is supported by advertising, which will appear between tunes. While users will not be able to set up custom playlists or ask for specific songs like they can do with the pay-for-play Amazon Music services, they will have thousands of stations to select from.
Example of available stations include: Fuego Latino, Pup Culture, 80’s music, Country, and stations inspired by various bands. While the playlists are the same as enjoyed by paying users, the free service will play commercials in between songs.
To listen, simply say:
- “Alexa, play the playlist Pop Culture” to hear the ultimate global playlist for today’s pop music.
- “Alexa, play the Imagine Dragons station” to hear a station inspired by the popular rock band.
- “Alexa, play 80s music” to hear a station filled with music from the era.
- “Alexa, play country music” to hear a station with some of the best in the genre.
The pay Amazon Music Unlimited service offers access to over 50 million songs, the free version’s selection will match the pared-down version offered as part of an Amazon customer’s membership, which is around 2 million tracks.
The free ad-supported Amazon Music service is currently only available in the United States. No word on when it might be available in other regions.