First published on http://www.soundandvision.com/
Music from Sony and Warner is available on Prime Music, but Universal Music is not. That means, for example, artists like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Eminem, Maroon 5, and Kanye West are AWOL. On the other hand, much of the music that customers purchased from Amazon (since it began selling CDs in 1998) will automatically appear in their personal Prime libraries. And, this includes Universal tracks. On the downside, recent hits (within six months) are not available on Prime Music.
Outfits like Spotify and Beats Music offer over 20 million tracks. I wondered, why on earth would Amazon launch a streaming service with only 1 million tracks? Moreover, Amazon already has over 25 million tracks for sale and in fact is one of the world’s biggest retailers of music. Why would it compete against its own downloading business with “free” streaming? The reasons are simple. In fact, the numbers tell it all: According to Nielsen, in the first half of 2014, downloaded music sales declined by 12.5 percent compared with a year ago. At the same time, music streaming was up 35 percent.