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Amazon launches competing (and nearly identical) streaming service to Apple Music

Amazon has launched an unlimited music streaming service which will directly compete with Apple Music. It focuses heavily on Amazon’s Alexa speakers and comes with separate price tags for Prime customers and Echo users.

What with Samsung’s recent woes, and Amazon’s first strike in the market of virtual-assistant housing speaker systems, which both Apple and Google are believed to be working towards, the online retail behemoth is quickly become the iPhone-maker’s most heel-snapping competitor.

Read more:¬†Amazon reveals why it won’t sell the Apple TV

It took another step into that fight today with the launch of a rival, unlimited streaming service titled, aptly, Music Unlimited.

While the base price is the industry-standard and Apple-matching $9.99, it again uses discounts for its prior customer base to boost adoption amongst existing users. For example, Prime users (which costs $99 a year) can subscribe to the service for $7.99, while users that have bought the aforementioned Echo speakers can get an Echo-only package for $3.99.

Of course, the million or so Prime Music tracks included with a Prime subscription will remain, but the Unlimited package will open up users to over 35 million tracks.

Despite having an iOS app, there’s not many reasons why Apple, iPhone, iPad or Mac users would jump to Amazon. This is simply another example of major tech firms pushing towards an ecosystem approach. Amazon’s recent launches, and its discounts is more about offering the platforms and hardware to retain users and encourage them to remain in the Amazon ecosystem. For those already in Apple’s, its prevalence in smartphones, watches and more will give its own customers little cause to switch.

Because elsewhere, there’s little difference between them. Amazon also provides a $14.99 family sharing package and has access to the same songs (barring Apple exclusives, of course). In reality, there’s little room for innovation in this crowded market place, but it does make sense for Amazon to at least have an unlimited streaming service considering how long it’s been selling digital music.

Currently, Spotify, the largest music streaming service has around 40 million paying customers, compared to Apple’s 17 million or so. It remains to be seen how far Amazon gets, but at the same time, Spotify’s position might not last forever if the competition becomes all about supporting an¬†ecosystem. Is it time for Spotify to join the hardware game?