Amazon Music Prime is adding 98 million songs to its ad-free subscription streaming service, significantly increasing its catalogue from two million tunes to 100 million. You’ll only be able to play them on shuffle, though.
Announced today, Amazon Music Prime’s catalogue of songs just grew to 50 times its size, its track count now matching that of its dedicated music streaming service Amazon Music Unlimited. It isn’t clear exactly what tracks are being added to Prime, but with such a large boost to the numbers there’s a good chance it will include a few songs you know. It probably won’t be 98 million Gregorian chants, in any case.
Amazon Music Prime comes bundled in your Amazon Prime subscription, so you may consider checking it out if you’ve already signed up to stream Rings of Power and get next-day toilet paper deliveries. This enormous influx of potential bangers undercuts Amazon Music Unlimited’s large library as one of its main selling points, potentially making the higher tier subscription less attractive to some.
However, Unlimited still has something arguably more important that Amazon Music Prime does not: the ability to play specific songs on demand.
While Amazon Prime Music now has the same number of songs as Amazon Music Unlimited, Prime users won’t be able to choose a specific song they want to listen to. So if you want to jam to “Dream of You” by CHUNG HA (with R3HAB) for example — and you absolutely should — you’ll have to shuffle play the K-pop artist’s album QUERENCIA and hope the RNG gods bless you. For worse odds, you could also shuffle play a playlist that includes the song you want, or shuffle play the artist’s whole catalogue.
This Amazon-mandated shuffling also means you can’t listen to an album’s tracks in sequence, which is practically sacrilege to many music fans. In fact, last year Spotify disabled its default auto-shuffle feature on Adele’s album 30 at the singer’s request, before also getting rid of it for all artists.
“This was the only request I had in our ever changing industry!” Adele tweeted at the time. “We don’t create albums with so much care and thought into our track listing for no reason. Our art tells a story and our stories should be listened to as we intended.”
As such, Amazon Prime Music isn’t your best option if you use Alexa and want to control what specific tracks you play or listen to an album as the artist intended. You’d be better off either shelling out $8.99 for an Amazon Music Ultimate subscription or sticking with one of the many streaming services that play nice with Alexa, such as Spotify, Apple Music, or Pandora.
Amazon Prime Music’s shuffled music is also only available in standard definition, which is fine for the average user but may irritate audiophiles. In contrast, Amazon Music Unlimited offers on-demand high definition music streaming — as well as some Ultra HD and Spatial audio tracks.
Amazon has also announced that Amazon Music Prime now has the largest selection of ad-free shows evaluated as “top podcasts” by podcast database Podchaser. Ratings and reviews are factored in when determining this list, which includes Dr. Death, SmartLess, and various Amazon Exclusive podcasts such as Killer Psyche Daily. Keke Palmer‘s new podcast Baby, this is Keke Palmer is also premiering today as an Amazon Exclusive show.