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Amazon Music

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Amazon Music
Launch dateSeptember 25, 2007
PlatformWindows, macOS, iOS, tvOS, Android, Fire OS, Amazon Alexa, Amazon Echo, HTML5

Search Amazon Music on Amazon.

Amazon Music (previously Amazon MP3) is a music streaming platform and online music store operated by Amazon. Launched in public beta on September 25, 2007,[2] in January 2008 it became the first music store to sell music without digital rights management (DRM) from the four major music labels (EMI, Universal, Warner, and Sony BMG), as well as many independents.[2][3][4][5] All tracks were originally sold in 256 kilobits-per-second variable bitrate MP3 format without per-customer watermarking or DRM; however, some tracks are now watermarked.[6] Licensing agreements with recording companies restrict the countries in which the music can be sold.[7]

After the United States, Amazon MP3 was launched in the United Kingdom on December 3, 2008, in Germany on April 1, 2009, and in France on June 10, 2009.[8] The German edition has been available in Austria and Switzerland since December 3, 2009. The Amazon MP3 store was launched in Japan on November 10, 2010.[9][10] The Spanish and Italian editions were launched on October 4, 2012. The edition in Mexico was announced on November 7, 2018.[1]

On September 17, 2019, Amazon Music announced the launch of Amazon Music HD, a new tier of lossless quality music with more than 50 million songs in High Definition (16bit/44.1kHz), and millions of songs in Ultra High Definition (24(bit)/44(kHz), 24/48, 24/96, 24/192), the highest-quality streaming audio available. Amazon is now among Tidal and Qobuz who offer lossless music for audiophiles.[11] The HD streaming service was later made available to all unlimited customers for free on May 17, 2021.[12]

As of January 2020, Amazon Music had 55 million subscribers.[13]

Catalog availability[edit]

At launch, Amazon offered "over 2 million songs from over 180,000 artists and over 20,000 labels, including EMI Music and Universal Music Group", to customers located in the United States only.[2] In December 2007 Warner Music announced that it would offer its catalog on Amazon MP3[14] and in January 2008, Sony BMG followed suit.[4][5] The current catalog is 29.1 million songs.[15]

Map of global availability of Amazon Music
Global availability of Amazon Music. Yellow is Amazon Music Unlimited, red-orange is Amazon Music Prime, and orange is both Amazon Music Prime and Amazon Music Unlimited

In January 2008, Amazon announced plans to roll Amazon MP3 out "internationally".[16] Amazon limits international access by checking users' credit card issued country. The first international version was launched December 3, 2008 in the United Kingdom. German, Austrian,[17] French, Japanese, Italian, Spanish,[18] Canadian,[19] and Indian[20] versions of the store followed.

Amazon Music tiers[edit]

In addition to digital purchases, Amazon Music also serves streaming music.

Music Prime, a service offering unlimited streaming of a limited music catalog has been available to Amazon Prime subscribers at no additional cost in several countries since mid 2014.[21]

Music Unlimited, a full-catalog streaming service has been available as an additional tier or as a standalone subscription since late 2016.[22] Though in India, there is only one tier of Amazon Music available, known as the Amazon Prime Music and is provided to all the existing Prime members at no additional cost and gives access to the full catalog, including podcasts.[23]

Country Availability[edit]

The availability of Amazon Music Services are as follow:[24][25]

Country Amazon Music
(free with ads)
Amazon Music Prime Amazon Music Unlimited Digital Music Store Music Library Service AutoRip
United States Streaming
(Limited plays)
(Limited catalog)
Streaming Buy/Download Yes Yes
United Kingdom Streaming
(Limited plays)
(Limited catalog)
Streaming Buy/Download Yes Yes
France Streaming
(Limited plays)
(Limited catalog)
Streaming Buy/Download Yes Yes
(Limited plays)
(Limited catalog)
Streaming Buy/Download Yes Yes
Italy Streaming
(Limited plays)
(Limited catalog)
Streaming Buy/Download Yes Yes
Spain Streaming
(Limited plays)
(Limited catalog)
Streaming Buy/Download Yes Yes
Switzerland No No No Buy/Download Yes Yes
Japan Streaming
(Limited plays)
(Limited catalog)
Streaming Buy/Download No No
Canada Streaming
(Limited plays)
(Limited catalog)
Streaming No No No
Australia Streaming
(Limited plays)
(Limited catalog)
Streaming No No No
Mexico Streaming
(Limited plays)
(Limited catalog)
Streaming No No No
Brazil Streaming
(Limited plays)
(Limited catalog)
Streaming No No No
New Zealand No No Streaming No No No
Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay No No Streaming No No No
Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, and Sweden No No Streaming No No No
India No Streaming
(Full catalog)
No No No No

Supported platforms[edit]

Amazon Music's streaming music catalog is accessible from the web player using HTML DRM extensions[26] or from player apps for multiple platforms including macOS, iOS, Windows, Android, FireOS, Alexa devices, and some automobiles and smart TVs. Amazon's purchasable music catalog is accessible from the web site by searching for an artist or title name, or via a store embedded in many, but not all, of the player apps. To download purchased music, Amazon offers either the Amazon Music player (which runs on Windows 7 or later and Mac OS X 10.9 and later) or a zip file of MP3s downloaded from Amazon's web player.

Amazon Music previously offered additional applications, such as one for Blackberry and one for Palm. These are no longer offered. Amazon also previously offered a separate app for Mac OS X and Windows, called the Amazon Music Downloader, which is no longer available. The downloader was purely for downloading purchased tracks, it did not offer music playback capabilities.

In November 2018 it was announced that Amazon Music will be available on Android TV.[27]

In August 2019, Amazon Music got its first smartwatch app available on selected Garmin smartwatches.[28]


On February 1, 2008, Pepsi introduced a Pepsi Stuff promotion in partnership with Amazon MP3.[29][30] Customers can exchange points offered on 4 billion Pepsi bottles for, among other prizes, MP3 downloads from Warner, EMI, and Sony BMG (though not Universal).

Rockstar Games' 2008 title Grand Theft Auto IV connects to Amazon MP3. Players can register on the Rockstar Games Social Club web site to receive e-mail outside the game containing a link to buy marked songs from Amazon MP3.[31]

Myspace has sold music from Amazon MP3 as part of its MySpace Music feature since September 2008.[32]

On 24 June 2021, Amazon announced its acquisition of Art19, a major podcast hosting and monetization platform.[33]


Initial reaction to Amazon MP3 was generally positive. The unofficial Apple Weblog praised the lack of DRM especially given that track prices were cheaper than iTunes Plus songs at launch, but the reviewer considered the user experience better in iTunes than on the Amazon web site.[34] Om Malik of GigaOM also praised the lack of DRM and the high bitrate but disliked the need to install another application to download albums. Overall, the reviewer said "…I think it makes sense for everyone to browse the Amazon store before hitting the 'buy' button on iTunes."[35]


A 2007 study by Eliot Van Buskirk of Wired News's "Listening Post" blog investigated whether Amazon MP3 was watermarking tracks with personally identifiable information. Van Buskirk quoted an Amazon spokesperson as saying, "Amazon does not apply watermarks. Files are generally provided to us from the labels and some labels use watermarks to identify the retailer who sold the tracks (there is no information on the tracks that identifies the customer)." The study concluded that although tracks may be watermarked to indicate that they were purchased on Amazon MP3, there is no data to indicate which specific customer purchased a given MP3 file.[36] This observation reflected Amazon's policy at the time.[37]

By 2011, however, the policy had changed and certain explicitly labeled tracks embed "Record Company Required Metadata" including, among other information, unique identifiers:[38][39]

Embedded in the metadata of each purchased MP3 from [Universal Music Group] are a random number Amazon assigns to your order, the Amazon store name, the purchase date and time, codes that identify the album and song (the UPC and ISRC), Amazon's digital signature, and an identifier that can be used to determine whether the audio has been modified. In addition, Amazon inserts the first part of the email address associated with your account

Music downloaded during the temporary promotional time period of trial membership will be blocked from access if the membership isn't continued.

Amazon Music Player[edit]

The Amazon Music player (formerly branded Cloud Player) is integrated with the digital music Prime and Unlimited streaming services, as well as the music store for purchases (on most platforms). The players allow users to store and play their music from a web browser, mobile apps, and desktop applications, Sonos (United States only), Bose (United States only) and other platforms such as certain smart TVs.

Amazon Music Player accounts get 250 tracks of free storage; however, music purchased through Amazon MP3 store does not count towards the storage limit.[40] Once the music is stored in Amazon Music, a user can choose to download it to one of the Android, iOS, or desktop devices using Amazon Music application.

Music is uploaded via the Amazon Music player for PC and Mac. Previously, Amazon offered the Amazon MP3 Uploader, which was an Adobe AIR application.

Amazon Music allows 10 devices (computer, browser, mobile, etc.) to be authorized. Customers can deauthorize their old devices via a web interface.[41]

Originally bundled with Amazon Cloud Drive was the music streaming application called Cloud Player which allowed users to play their music stored in the Cloud Drive from any computer or Android device with Internet access. This was discontinued.

Amazon Music for PC was launched in May 2013 as a downloadable Windows application for playing music outside a web browser. The OS X version of Amazon Music was released in October 2013.

On December 8, 2015,[42] Amazon Music Prime became available on Denon® Electronics HEOS by Denon wireless sound systems, adding a new streaming outlet for music and entertainment enthusiasts.[43][44]

On October 12, 2016, Amazon Music Unlimited was released in the United States.[22] Music Unlimited is a full-catalog unlimited streaming service, available as a monthly or annual subscription. It is billed in addition to, and available without an Amazon Prime account. The service later expanded to users in the United Kingdom, Germany and Austria on November 14, 2016.[45]


Much commentary on Amazon Music at launch focused on its legality, since Amazon launched the service without the approval of the record labels. Amazon's official statement was "Cloud Player is an application that lets customers manage and play their own music. It's like any number of existing media management applications. We do not need a license to make Cloud Player available."[46] Technology website Ars Technica noted that this is "seemingly logical" since users are uploading and playing back their own music, so the licenses users acquired from the original purchase apply to the Cloud Player in the same way they apply to transferring and playing music from an external hard drive or digital audio player.[46] Techdirt commented that the Cloud Player is "just letting people take music files they already [have], and allowing them to store and stream them from the internet. Why should it require an extra license to let people listen to music they already have?"[47]

Record labels reacted in shock to the Cloud Player's launch,[48] insisting that licenses were needed for this type of service.

Intellectual property lawyer Denise Howell stated that "the legality of cloud storage and remote access to items already purchased make intuitive sense", but given the record labels' reaction and track record of legal action against online music services, warned that it will likely take "definitive and hard-fought judicial pronouncements" to settle the issue.[48]

See also[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Amazon Music Now In Mexico".
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Launches Public Beta of Amazon MP3 Archived August 25, 2007, at the Wayback Machine{{|date=October 2018 |bot=InternetArchiveBot |fix-attempted=yes }}
  3. Leeds, Jeff (November 23, 2018). "Free Amazon prime account". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 11, 2008. Retrieved November 23, 2018. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Amazon Adds Fourth Major Record Label To DRM-Free Music Store". InformationWeek. January 10, 2008. Archived from the original on October 10, 2009. Retrieved January 12, 2008. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Hansell, Saul (January 10, 2008). "Sony Drives Another Nail in the D.R.M. Coffin". New York Times. Archived from the original on January 23, 2008. Retrieved January 12, 2008. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  6. "Example of Product with Watermarking".
  7. Help > Digital Products Help > Amazon MP3 Music Downloads > Amazon MP3 Music Terms of Use
  8. "Amazon lance sa boutique de musique en ligne en France" (in français). AFP. June 10, 2009. Retrieved June 10, 2009.
  9. "Amazon launches MP3 store in Japan".
  10. "Amazon Japan Launches MP3 Store".
  11. Etherington, Darrell (17 September 2019). "Amazon launches Amazon Music HD with lossless audio streaming". TechCrunch. Retrieved 16 November 2019.
  12. Silver, Stephen (June 4, 2021). "Amazon Music HD Is Now Free for Unlimited Users: What That Means". MakeUseOf. Retrieved November 16, 2021.
  13. "Amazon Music has more than 55 million customers worldwide". About Amazon. 2020-01-22. Retrieved 2021-02-26.
  14. Leeds, Jeff (December 28, 2007). "Amazon to Sell Warner Music Minus Copy Protection". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 11, 2008. Retrieved December 28, 2007. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  15. "Amazon MP3 Song Database". May 11, 2014. Archived from the original on January 6, 2015. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  16. Amazon to Begin International Rollout of Amazon MP3 in 2008
  17. Lunden, Ingrid (14 November 2016). "Amazon Music Unlimited expands to the UK, Germany and Austria today". TechCrunch. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  18. Brent_B (20 October 2017). "Amazon Music available in France, Italy, Japan, and Spain!". Bose. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  19. Dent, Steve (15 November 2017). "Amazon's Alexa and Prime Music service arrive in Canada". Engadget. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  20. Russell, John (27 February 2018). "Amazon launches its Prime Music service in India". TechCrunch. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  21. Dredge, Stuart (2014-06-12). "Amazon Prime Music streaming service launches in the US with 1m songs". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  22. 22.0 22.1 "Amazon's full on-demand streaming music service launches today". The Verge. 2016-10-12. Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  23. "Amazon Prime Music launches podcasts for customers in India". afaqs!. Retrieved 2021-05-15.
  24. Music Help: Amazon Music Services (Country List)
  25. Help: What are the Differences Between the Amazon Music Subscriptions?
  26. "Amazon Kindle is Defective by Design". 2019-11-26.
  27. "Amazon Music will soon be available for Android TV". The Verge. Retrieved 2018-12-03.
  28. Porter, Jon (2019-08-21). "Amazon Music gets its first smartwatch app". The Verge. Retrieved 2019-08-21.
  29. Amazon, Pepsi Team For Super Bowl MP3 Giveaway
  30. Amazon, Pepsi Prep Massive MP3 Promotion
  31. "GTA IV Unveils New Music Download Model". Yahoo!. April 10, 2008. Archived from the original on April 1, 2008. Retrieved April 10, 2008. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  32. Van Buskirk, Eliot (September 24, 2008). "MySpace Takes On iTunes With DRM-Free, Amazon-Backed Site". Wired News. CondéNet. Archived from the original on September 26, 2008. Retrieved September 25, 2008. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  33. Carman, Ashley (2021-06-24). "Amazon is acquiring a podcast hosting and monetization platform". The Verge. Retrieved 2021-06-24.
  34. Amazon MP3: a quick review
  35. Amazon MP3 vs. Apple iTunes: Where Should You Shop?
  36. Some of Amazon's MP3 Tracks Contain Watermarks
  37. Some Of Amazon's MP3 Tracks Contain Watermarks
  38. GagaGate, DRM and How To Cripple The Cloud
  39. Record Company Required Metadata
  40. " Getting Started: Music Store and Music Player for Web". Retrieved 18 May 2011.
  41. Authorizing Your Device
  42. Stacia Kirby (8 December 2015). "HEOS® by Denon Brings Amazon Prime Music to its Wireless Multi-Room Sound System". PRWeb.
  43. RICH EDMONDS (10 December 2015). "Tune into Amazon Prime Music on Denon HEOS wireless sound systems". Mobile Nations.
  44. RS Staff (9 December 2015). "HEOS by Denon Brings Amazon Prime Music to its Wireless Multi-Room Sound System". NewBay Media, LLC.
  45. Hardwick, Tim. "Amazon Music Unlimited Rolls Out Across Germany, Austria, and the U.K." Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  46. 46.0 46.1 Cheng, Jacqui (29 March 2011). "Amazon on Cloud Player: we don't need no stinkin' licenses". Ars Technica. Condé Nast Digital.
  47. Masnick, Mike (April 13, 2011). "Amazon Insists No Licenses Needed For Cloud Player, Google Thinking Of Skipping Licenses As Well". Techdirt. Floor64.
  48. 48.0 48.1 Cheng, Jacqui (31 March 2011). "Music industry will force licenses on Amazon Cloud Player—or else". Ars Technica. Condé Nast Digital.

External links[edit]

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