Amazon has entered into discussions to launch a free, ad-supported music service, intensifying its competitive threat to the global streaming leader, Spotify.
The world’s biggest e-retailer would market the new concept through its voice-activated Echo speakers, sources say, and would offer a limited catalog to start. To obtain licenses for the free music, Amazon has proposed to initially pay some record labels a per-stream rate, regardless of how much advertising they sell and this all could become available as early as next week.
Currently, Spotify is the only major subscription-dependent music streaming service with a free tier, making it a generous play that’s been key to acquiring new paying customers. The platform now counts 96 million paying subscribers and 116 million free users.