Amazon Music Unlimited is the tribute band of music streaming services. It borrows heavily from its rivals, with a soundalike service, but doesn’t quite match them when it comes to artist curation and recommendations. But that doesn't mean you should write it off. Far from it, in fact.
If you know what you like - and being a Louder lifer that’s certain to be the case - it's actually a great value option when it comes to streaming. In fact, it may be one of the best value streaming deals you can get your hands on right now.
Amazon’s music catalogue is immense and the quality options are high. In this Amazon Music Unlimited review we’ll cover everything you need to know…
Amazon Music Unlimited: Get 4 months free
Sign up to Amazon Music Unlimited between now and 11 July and you'll get four free months (if you're a Prime member) to sample as much music as you can fit into your lugs. Non-Prime members can get 3 months free.
Amazon Music Unlimited review: Features
When it comes to catalogue depth, Amazon Music Unlimited can go toe to toe with Apple Music and Tidal, boasting some 90 million tracks. However obscure your punk, prog or rock tastes, there’s a good chance you’ll find what you want.
Price: Individual Plan £7.99/$8.99 monthly (for Amazon Prime users), £/$9.99 monthly for non-Prime users; £/$14.99 Family Plan monthly; Single device plan £3.99/$4.99 monthly
Sound Quality: HD quality 16-bit/44.1kHz, UHD quality up to 24-bit/192kHz
Spatial Audio: Yes
The UI is nothing if not familiar. The Amazon Music app presents a variety of themed Stations (including ‘My Soundtrack’), which groups artists and bands from your playback history, and throws genre matches in where appropriate, alongside ‘Made for you’ styled compilations based on your listening habits.
‘Because you follow Babymetal,’ it reasons sagely, you should like Ladybaby and Eskimo Callboy. OK, I’ll take that. Fair cop.
But Amazon Music Unlimited is not so smart when it comes to new releases, and will joyfully push heinous pop and dance when I’ve already made it clear that my taste buds lean more to Billy Idol than Billie Eilish.
Its ‘My Discovery Mix’ always appears a little too random. You get the feeling that Alexa has been charged with hammering together the playlists, and her heart isn't quite in it.
While Apple and Spotify, are migrating into the podcast space with gusto, Amazon Music is a little less fussed, and certainly doesn’t appear to be particularly phased about bagging exclusives, but there is a dedicated podcast catalogue to peruse.
In addition to streaming you can also download tracks for offline play. If you’ve got an Alexa-enabled smart speaker such as the stunning Amazon Echo Studio, it also integrates neatly with the music service, for seamless voice control.
Amazon Music Unlimited review: Sound
Amazon Music Unlimited may be somewhat me-too in terms of operation and usability, but it delivers big time in audio quality. CD quality (16-bit with a sample rate of 44.1 kHz) tracks are standard, which it labels HD, and there’s an increasing amount of Hi-Res 24-bit content too, which it calls UHD.
If you’ve invested in a decent pair of high quality headphones for music, you’ll be well catered for.
Amazon Music Unlimited is also a big supporter of Dolby Atmos spatial audio mixes, good news, as there’s an increasing number of albums being released with an Atmos mix. Headphones will take these and give you a binaural listening experience, which can be as dizzying as the ferris wheel ride at Donnington.
Amazon Music Unlimited review: Verdict
When it comes down to bang for buck, Amazon Music Unlimited is arguably the best value music streaming service you can subscribe to right now, especially if you’re already an Amazon Prime subscriber. Pay just £7.99$8.99 or £/$9.99 and enjoy both hi-res tracks and spatial audio.
Hopefully, its curation algorithms will improve over time, which would really put it in the running against Apple Music and Spotify, but for now we’ll take the savings.
Amazon Music Unlimited review: The competition
Not yet ready to commit to Amazon Music Unlimited? Consider these alternatives…
Apple Music is comparable when it comes to audio quality and catalogue depth, and shows Amazon a clean pair of stack heels when it comes to music curation. And if you’re fully invested in Apple’s ecosystem, Spatial Audio comes with Dynamic Head tracking, which literally puts you in the middle of spatial audio mixes, provided you’re wearing a pair of AirPods Max.
Tidal and Qobuz also strut past Amazon Music Unlimited when it comes to quality and curation. Tidal’s HiFi tier has MQA Hi-Res Audio streams and Dolby Atmos sound mixes, but at £19.99 it’s twice the price, while Qobuz is just over a tenner a month and offers hi-res audio, but lacks spatial audio.
And of course, there’s Spotify. There’s always Spotify.