Taking Amazon’s new Prime Music service for a spin

Amazon just launched their Prime Music service, promising more than a million songs, all free to members of Amazon Prime. Since I’m an Amazon Prime member, thought I’d take it for a spin.

Getting started was easy. I clicked the Explore Prime Music button on the entry page and I was taken to a page filled with links to albums and playlists, as well as a search field.

Click on an album and you go to the album’s main page, listing all the tracks with popularity rankings for each track. Click a button to add the entire album to your library or click to add tracks, one at a time. Each album page includes Amazon’s usual recommendations at the bottom.

Playlists let you quickly populate your library with someone else’s picks. You can add a collection, then trim the songs that don’t work for you.

On the good side, I found it pretty easy to build up and listen to a nice chunk of music.

On the down side, I quickly found the boundaries of Amazon’s collection. While they do have an impressive mix, I felt like I was looking through someone’s music library, not the universe of music I’m exploring when I go to the iTunes Store. As an example, none of the top iTunes albums are available as free adds to my Prime library. I can buy them, of course, but the point is, expect your free Prime Music library to be dated.

There’s also the question of portability. The Amazon Music app that accesses your library is pretty primitive. I’m sure that’ll change over time, but as is, the whole experience feels a bit hamstrung.

I’m guessing that the music experience will be much better on Amazon’s upcoming phone, since they’ll own the ecosystem.