Amazon explores free music service to take on Spotify

Amazon is in talks to launch a free music streaming service that will see it go head-to-head with Spotify, according to a report by Billboard.

According to the report, citing unnamed sources, Amazon is in discussion with music labels to obtain licences for a service that would be made available through its voice-activated Echo speakers with advertising support, and has offered to pay some labels per stream.

According to Billboard, the service could launch as soon as next week.

As is the case with its TV offering, Amazon would likely view music as a tool to support its core e-commerce business, meaning that, unlike Spotify, it would not be under pressure to make the service profitable.

Amazon currently offers Prime Music, a subscription service that is part of its overall prime offering like Prime Video. However, the introduction of an advertising-supported tier would mark a significant change and bring Amazon into direct competition with Spotify, the only major music streaming service currently to offer a free, ad-supported tier.

Reports of Amazon’s music plans follows a report last month that tech giant was looking to launch a free, ad-supported video news app that would bring it into competition with Roku’s Roku Channel in the US. The Information reported that Amazon was looking to integrate the news service into its Alexa voice assistant.

Amazon launched Freedive, an ad-supported streaming channel featuring movies and TV shows with the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) that it owns in January. The service is available on the IMDb website and on Amazon Fire TV devices, enabling users to watch a range of TV shows without purchasing a subscription.

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