Deciding Between Amazon Music Unlimited or Amazon Prime Music

Amazon Prime Music vs. Amazon Music Unlimited

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. We have reviewed the features of both services to help you decide which is best for you.

One person listening to Amazon Prime Music, another listening to Unlimited
Lifewire / Nusha Ashjaee 

Overall Findings

Amazon Prime Music

  • Easy to use.

  • Stream to numerous devices.

  • Unlimited song skips.

Amazon Music Unlimited

  • No Prime membership required.

  • Massive song library.

  • HD and Ultra HD playback available.

On its own, Prime Music is a worthy competitor to free, ad-based streaming music services from Pandora, Spotify and others. In addition, Prime Music is included at no additional cost to Amazon Prime members. There are no ads and there are unlimited song skips. 

Amazon Music Unlimited comes at a premium, but provides the benefits of Prime Music and then some.

Price: Multiple Plans

Amazon Prime Music

  • Included in Amazon Prime membership.

  • Included with free trial and student memberships.

  • Ad-free.

Amazon Music Unlimited

  • Four subscription plans.

  • Free trial period.

  • Prime members receive a discount.

An Amazon Prime membership is required to stream music using Amazon Prime Music. There is no alternative way to sign up for the service. The benefits of a Prime Music membership come at no additional cost to Prime members.

Prime members can sign up for Amazon Music Unlimited for $7.99 per month or $79 per year. If you are not a Prime member, you can subscribe to Amazon Music Unlimited for $9.99 per month for the Amazon Music Unlimited Individual Plan.

Along with the Amazon Music Unlimited Individual 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 plan is only available to Prime members.
  2. Student Plan: Currently-enrolled college students get Music Unlimited for $4.99/month. (Amazon also has a Prime Student membership that offers music benefits as well.)
  3. Single Device Plan: For about half the price of Amazon Music Unlimited, you can instead choose this plan, which offers all the benefits of Unlimited but can be streamed only to one device.

Playlists: Massive Selection

Amazon Prime Music

  • More than 2 million songs.

  • Thousands of playlists created by Amazon's music experts.

  • Personalized streaming stations.

Amazon Music Unlimited

  • More than 50 million songs.

  • New songs/albums typically added on the day they're released.

  • Thousands of curated playlists and personalized Stations.

Amazon Prime Music titles change frequently. New titles are added often and occasionally titles are removed. Prime Music also includes curated playlists designed to appeal to a variety of musical tastes. 

Music Unlimited offers everything Prime Music does, plus literally tens of millions of songs compared with Prime Music's two million-song library. In addition, Music Unlimited features a greater selection of newer artists and more complete catalogs of popular acts, as well as exclusive spoken commentary from select artists, which Amazon calls "Side-by-Side." Curated playlists and song recommendations which more accurately reflect individual music tastes. 

Commands: Alexa Compatibility

Amazon Music Unlimited

  • Advanced Alexa commands.

  • Stream to multiple devices.

  • No offline streaming with single-device plan.

Amazon Prime Music

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

  • Stream to multiple devices.

  • Listen offline.

You can stream directly to your computer, car, smartphone (iOS or Android), or your Amazon Echo, Echo Dot and Amazon Tap with either service. It's easy to download songs and listen offline–great if you're about to get on a plane.

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 ability to speak in a more natural manner work to create a more personalized listening experience, which is not available with Prime Music. 

Final Verdict: Let Your Budget Decide

Which is right for you? With all Prime Music offers, why, then, pay for Amazon's Music Unlimited service?

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.

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. 

The primary differences are better selection and enhanced Amazon Echo voice commands–available exclusively to Music Unlimited subscribers.

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.