Amazon Music is now free to Prime members, but there's a catch – and it'll change how you listen with Alexa

Amazon's full music streaming library is now free to Prime customers, but there are conditions

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(Image credit: CollectorMount on Etsy)

Looking for something to listen to on your stylish new smart speaker or soundbar? It's good news for Amazon Prime members this month as the full Amazon Music streaming library is now free to customers. Amazon has announced that it has increased the number of songs available to Prime members from two-million to 100 million - with no extra cost. Prime members can now enjoy a wider range of ad-free tracks and the top podcasts in the updated Amazon Music app, giving Spotify, Tidal and other well-know music streaming services a run for their money. The list includes shows such as the +44 Podcast, British Scandal and Even the Rich, as well as Amazon Exclusives such as Three Little Words, Built to Thrive and the popular Mr Ballen Podcast: Strange, Dark and Mysterious Stores. 

'We can’t wait for members to experience a massively expanded catalogue of songs, but also the largest selection of ad-free top podcasts anywhere, at no additional cost to their membership,’ says Steve Boom, VP of Amazon Music. ‘We continue to innovate on behalf of our customers, and to bring even more entertainment to Prime members.'

The announcement is a bonus for any existing Prime members looking to be inspired by new music and shows, especially for those who listen on an Alexa speaker. It's also tempting for anyone wanting to enjoy the benefits of Prime and gain access to a comprehensive music streaming service. You'll be able to enjoy podcasts and tracks without any annoying ads to distract you, but as you will discover there is a catch, which some may find annoying. 

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(Image credit: James Merrell)

Amazon's full music streaming library is now free to Prime customers. So what's the catch?

Before this announcement from Amazon, Prime subscribers could choose to play a specific song on demand from two million tracks from the Amazon Music library and listen to the exact song they wanted. With the new Prime benefit, things are slightly different in terms of how you can access the music. 

While Amazon's new Prime benefit is a generous one - with up to 100 million songs to choose from - the catch is that you won't be able to choose the exact song you want like you could before. Instead you’ll have to shuffle and play by artist, album or playlist and you'll only be able to skip six tracks an hour. There is, however, an option to stream 15 personalised 'All-Access' playlists on demand that can also be downloaded for offline listening. These can also be skipped through as you see fit.

So, ultimately, while the choice of content you can enjoy has expanded, you're somewhat limited in how you listen. There's also no longer an option to revert back to the previous service that allowed you to pinpoint your exact request from the selection of two million songs. 

On the plus side, however, these changes can help to expand your listening horizons - opening you up to new songs and podcasts and pushing you out of your comfort zone. So for anyone bored of listening to the same tunes over and over again, this may be your opportunity to discover new music. Prime members can also access the largest catalogue of ad-free top podcasts. 

If you're comparing Spotify vs Amazon Music, the basic tier on each service is pretty similar, with the same limitations on how you listen. The big difference, Amazon Music has no adverts, but you can only listen to its library with an existing Prime account. 

These latest changes also give you a taste of what you can expect if you pay for a full Amazon Music Unlimited subscription, which we've outlined below.   

Sign up to Amazon Prime

Sign up to Amazon Prime

If you ever purchase via Amazon, signing up to Prime is a no-brainer, especially as you get access to Prime Video and now Amazon Music included with your membership. 

Alexa Echo Show 5

(Image credit: Alexa Echo Show 5)

What are the differences between the Amazon Music subscriptions? 

Amazon currently offers three levels of music service that enable you to stream music and podcasts. 

1. Amazon Music's free tier 

With Amazon Music you can enjoy ad-supported access to millions of songs and podcast episodes on demand. You can listen across a range of devices including your Amazon Echo and smartphone via the Amazon Music app. 

2. Amazon Music's benefit with Prime

Prime members can now access over 100 million ad-free tracks and podcasts in shuffle mode, All-Access Playlists and listen to a vast catalogue of top ad-free podcasts. 

3. Amazon Music Unlimited 

This paid-for ad-free service will give you on-demand access to over 100 million songs in HD, and a growing catalogue of Ultra HD and Spatial audio. It costs £9.99 | $9.99 a month to subscribe or £8.99 |$8.99 if you also subscribe to Amazon Prime. 

One of the UK's most respected tech and smart homes writers, Emily Peck also covers everything from interiors style to decorating trends. She is a contributor to Wired UK, and has also had a column in House Beautiful. She has written for publications such as Grand Designs, Stylist, Shortlist, Woman&Home, BBC, Ideal Home and House & Garden. She was once the Features Editor of Ideal Home.