Free Amazon Prime Music - Worth it?
Amazon increased the cost of its Prime free-shipping membership from $79 to $99 just a couple of months ago. Now the e-commerce giant is trying to make up for it with a new Prime benefit: unlimited streamed music. But is this new perk really worth the extra $20? Read on for my analysis...
Get Your Free Music - Only $20
Is the addition of Amazon Price Music worth the additional $20 per year that Prime members now pay? Does Amazon Prime Music compare favorably to other music services? The consensus among pundits seems to be, “no.”
Initially, at least, Prime Music offers a paltry one million or so songs; Spotify and other major streaming services have over 20 million tunes in their libraries. But quality matters more than quantity. Right? Amazon must be saving listeners time by offering only the very best music.
Oops. Last week, nine out of the top 10 tunes on the Billboard 100 popularity list were missing from Prime Music. So much for the time-saving theory. It made no logical sense, anyway, given that Amazon built its popularity in the book trade by carrying every obscure title in existence. People hate to search and come up empty; that is what they perceive as a waste of their time.
But it really doesn’t matter that Prime Music’s playlist is subpar. It won’t matter if the user interface is more clumsy than that of other music streamers. It’s free; that’s what Prime members will believe, and so it’s a net gain for them, a gift from Jeff Bezos.
As far as most Prime members are concerned, they’re paying $99 a year for free two-day shipping. Everything else is gravy: free streaming videos, free Kindle eBooks occasionally, and now free streaming music. Only nothing is free, overall.
"Hey Buddy, That's *ALL* You Can Eat!"
When I was in college, a local restaurant offered a Sunday all-you-can-eat buffet that included boiled shrimp, a pricey delicacy that I normally couldn’t afford the aroma of. A tall, skinny friend and I made a bet on who could eat the most shrimp. Halfway through the contest, the waitresses ganged up to scold us for being such thoughtless gluttons.
“You’re going to put our boss out of business!” they said in all anxious seriousness. I called the owner over and asked if he minded two college kids eating over 120 shrimp apiece for $4.95. He laughed and said, “Not at all. Most of my customers are too afraid of looking piggish to take more than 3-4 shrimp. I do fine on the buffet. Here, you guys want a couple bushels of fresh clams?”
It’s been estimated that Amazon makes a double-digit profit on Prime membership fees if you only count shipping costs. A lot of people, it seems, never use $99 worth of shipping in a year. They buy a Prime membership just so they don’t have to stop and think about shipping costs when they shop. Only a handful of members come out ahead on “free” shipping that actually is $99 worth of prepaid, use-it-or-lose it shipping.
I have no problem with Amazon making money. And I'll admit that the free Prime shipping at Amazon does often motivate me to shop there first. But lately I've found that on some "free shipping with Prime" items, the shipping costs seem to be built into the price. For example, an item that other vendors are selling for $10 plus $6 shipping, sells for $16 on Amazon with "free shipping." How is that saving me money?
The addition of music to the Prime portfolio of freebies (that cost $99/year) will persuade some non-members to sign up for Prime, fattening Amazon’s bottom line. New members who have been on the fence will pay for Prime because it suddenly hit their threshold of taste for “free.” Adding new members is the only reason Amazon added the other freebies to Prime membership. It worked then, and it will work now.
Does the addition of free music tempt you to sign up for Amazon Prime, or renew your membership? If not, what would you find valuable instead? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 17 Jun 2014
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Free Amazon Prime Music - Worth it? (Posted: 17 Jun 2014)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved