Deciding Between Amazon Music Unlimited or Amazon Prime Music

Woman listening to music on Amazon music service

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One of the benefits to Amazon Prime membership is Prime Music, a music streaming service that's available at no charge to all Prime members. But what many don't realize is that Amazon also offers a standalone paid subscription music service, called Amazon Music Unlimited. Even for some Prime members, the subscription-based Amazon Music Unlimited will prove worth the extra cost. To understand why, let's compare the two.

Amazon Prime Music

On its own, Prime Music is a worthy competitor to free, ad-based streaming music services from Pandora, Spotify and others. 

  • There are no ads.
  • There are unlimited song skips. 
  • You can stream directly to your computer, car, smartphone (iOS or Android), or your Amazon Echo, Echo Dot and Amazon Tap.
  • It's easy to download songs and listen offline–great if you're about to get on a plane.
  • Prime Music also includes curated playlists designed to appeal to a variety of musical tastes. 

Amazon Music Unlimited

With all Prime Music offers, why, then, pay for Amazon's Music Unlimited service? It mostly comes down to better selection and enhanced Amazon Echo voice commands–available exclusively to Music Unlimited subscribers.

Music Unlimited offers everything Prime Music does, plus: 

  • "Tens of millions" of songs compared to Prime Music's approximately 2 million songs. 
  • Curated playlists and song recommendations which more accurately reflect individual music tastes. 
  • A greater selection of newer artists and more complete catalogs of popular acts, including the Beatles and Garth Brooks.
  • Exclusive spoken commentary from select artists, which Amazon calls "Side-by-Side."

Natural Echo

Maybe the most fun Music Unlimited exclusive, however, are the numerous additional Echo commands that are unlocked. For example: 

  • "Alexa, play happy pop music" 
  • "Alexa, play the song with the lyrics 'when the levee breaks'" 
  • "Alexa, play Adele's newest single

Echo's enhanced understanding and the the ability to speak in a more natural manner work to create a more personalized listening experience. This is not available with Prime Music. 

Prime Music vs. Amazon Music Unlimited 

Which is right for you?

If you listen regularly to newer music, then the significantly larger music library may make Music Unlimited worth the subscription price. This is especially true if you have an Amazon Echo. The chart highlights the major differences between the services.

Service Catalog Price Echo Other Benefits
Prime Music

2 million songs

Free to Amazon Prime members

Standard commands (e.g. "Alexa, play Norah Jones)


Amazon Music Unlimited

"Tens of millions" of songs

$7.99/month to members

$9.99/month to non-members

Additional commands (e.g. "Alexa, play the surprise song of the day")

More natural language commands (Alexa, play that song goes 'funk you up'")

Select artist music catalog available (e.g. Garth Brooks)

​More personalized curated playlists

Side-by-side offers select artist commentary on their music

Still not sure? Amazon currently offers a 30-day free trial that's easy to sign up for and easy to cancel, which should aid in your decision. 

Amazon Music Unlimited for Everyone

But wait, there's more!

Along with the Amazon Music Unlimited plan, the retail giant offers several additional options depending on your particular circumstance. 

  1. Family Plan: For about double the price, the Music Unlimited "family plan" enables up to six family members to get Music Unlimited. This is a potential huge savings if multiple family members listen to music regularly. Another cool feature here is that the Amazon Echo offers a "voice profile" where it recognizes the voices of different family members. When the youngest child says, "Alexa, play my favorite playlist," for example, the device will know who is speaking.
  2. Student Plan: Currently enrolled college students get Music Unlimited at just over half price, $4.99/month. (Amazon also has a Prime Student membership that offers music benefits as well.)
  3. Echo Plan: For about half the price of Amazon Music Unlimited, you can instead choose the "Echo plan," which offers all the benefits of Unlimited but can be streamed only to one device–and that device is your Amazon Echo (or Dot or Tap). 

Both music services are streamed via the same app, so if you start with Prime Music and later decide to upgrade to Amazon Music Unlimited, you don't need to download anything new and you won't lose any favorites or playlists you've already created. The Amazon Music app is available for iOS and Android, Mac and PC, Fire tablets, Roku, and there's even a web player for most popular browsers.