Smart Speakers Help Amazon To 100 Million Prime Subscribers

Amazon Prime Logo on the Music 3.0 blogAmazon has never officially discussed its Prime service subscriber numbers in the past, leaving room for lots of speculation. Was it 90 million? 120 million? 60 million? Finally we get some real confirmation from CEO Jeff Bezos himself, who announced in its annual shareholders letter that the company has broken the 100 million barrier, a new milestone for the program initially rolled out in 2005.

Bezos also talked about the growth of Amazon Music, which he claimed has tens of millions of paid customers but gave no exact number. The on-demand, ad-free music streaming service is now in more than 30 countries and reportedly its membership has more than doubled over the past six months alone.

The reason for the rapid growth? The company’s Echo and Dot smart speakers. Amazon believes that the product category has opened up a previously untapped market and will continue to do so in the future, since the company is clearly in the lead in this market. This was only one of several steps that enabled Amazon to gain more of a foothold in the music distribution business.

Amazon Prime Music originally launched in June 2014 and was free for Prime subscribers and gave listeners access to around 2 million songs. Amazon Music Unlimited built on that idea and was launched in October 2016 as an subscription streaming service available to Prime and non-Prime users. It runs $9.99 per month, or 7.99 per month (or $79 per year) for Prime subscribers. That said, it’s only $3.99 per month for those with Echo speakers. Like with its competitors Spotify and Apple Music, the company also offers family plans at $14.99 and student plans at $4.99.

Amazon is bigger player in the music distribution business than even many in the business perceive, and it looks like its presence will grow even larger in the future. If all 100 million subscribers indulged in the music portion of their Prime membership (they don’t), it would be the leader in the market today. There’s no telling where it could be tomorrow.

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