Amazon has announced a new free tier of its music streaming service which the company said will be available across its Echo smart speaker range, or for that matter, any device powered by Alexa. Being free does come with the usual downside, which means having to live with ad interruptions.
The announcement, while being a sweet piece of news to users of the Echo speakers however should already be ringing warning bells at Spotify. In fact, Spotify has some solid reason to worry about the competition this time given that Google too has something similar to offer to users of its Google Home speaker devices. For the Mountain View company, it’s the free tier of YouTube Music that is being made available to the smart speaker range.
What perhaps makes the Amazon or Google offering all the more worrisome for Spotify is the fact that both Amazon and Google are operating within their own ecosystem and hence have the choice to fine-tune their service to make the best use of their respective hardware. Spotify, on the other hand, would only be able to offer a more generalised service.
Also, with buyers of either the Google Home or Amazon Echo speakers getting a free subscription of free music from the makers of the respective hardware itself, people might be less inclined to opt for Spotify. This again has to do with most of the big-name music streaming companies having millions of tracks on offer.
All of this makes users have almost enough of what they want from either Amazon Music or YouTube Music, perhaps leaving Spotify in a bit of a disadvantage. Amazon Music has also grown to be the third largest music streaming company, behind only Spotify and Apple Music. In fact, both Apple and Amazon have made considerable progress with their music streaming service in recent times, which means renewed competition from all fronts for Spotify.
Now with the huge Amazon Echo and Google Home speaker user base that runs into tens of millions gaining from free music from their own makers, there will no doubt be fewer chances of them opting for Spotify, notwithstanding the latter’s market leader status. Under the circumstances, it remains to be seen how Spotify responds to the development years after the company revolutionised digital music listening by being the only one to offer an ad-driven free music service so far.