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Starting February 21st, Amazon’s Music Unlimited streaming service will be increasing in price for its subscribers in the United States and the United Kingdom. According to support pages spotted by Billboard, the monthly subscription fee for Amazon Music Unlimited will now be $10.99 in the US (up from $9.99) and £10.99 in the UK (up from £9.99). The discounted student rate is also increasing from $4.99 (£4.99) to $5.99 (£5.99).
This move comes as a surprise to many, as Amazon has been known for its competitive pricing strategy in the past. Amazon Music Unlimited, the top subscription tier of the e-commerce giant’s music streaming service, offers unlimited access to 100 million songs in lossless CD-quality and “millions” of songs in lossless hi-res. The company also offers a discounted Music Unlimited rate for Prime subscribers that now sits at $8.99 as of a price increase that went into effect last May.
It is worth noting that the price increase is in line with the one announced by competitor Apple last October when it said it would increase the price of Apple Music from $9.99 to $10.99 a month. Spotify, meanwhile, still costs $9.99 a month as standard, a price that has remained consistent since its US launch in 2011.
Data from market research firm Midia shows that Amazon Music had around 13.3 percent of the world’s music subscribers, behind Apple Music with 13.7 percent, and Spotify with 30.5 percent, as of mid-2022. However, Amazon’s support page only vaguely explains that the price increase is to “help us bring you even more content and features.”
This price increase comes at a time when Amazon is facing a large drop in its share price, and is in the midst of cost-cutting efforts, including a massive round of layoffs that will affect around 18,000 of its staff and recently announced plans to sunset its charity-donating AmazonSmile feature.
Furthermore, It is also worth noting that Spotify hasn’t raised its prices in over a decade in the US, so an increase might not be far away. In an earnings call last October, Billboard notes that CEO Daniel Ek indicated that raising US prices “is one of the things we would like to do.”
It remains to be seen how this price increase will affect Amazon’s Music Unlimited subscriber base and how it will compete with other streaming services in the market. However, Amazon’s efforts to bring more content and features may be a strong enough incentive for its current subscribers to stick around and for new subscribers to sign up.