Amazon Offers Prime Members 4 Months of Music Unlimited for $0.99

Amazon is offering Prime members who have yet to try its Music Unlimited streaming service a steep discount in the run-up to the company's Prime Day on July 11.

Prime subscribers can currently sign up for four months for a total cost of $0.99 (or 99p in the U.K.), with the service reverting to its usual price of $7.99 (£7.99) per month thereafter. The non-Prime price for the service is $9.99 (£9.99) per month.


Amazon Music Unlimited launched last year to compete with the likes of Apple Music, Spotify, and Google Play Music. Its music catalog of "tens of millions of songs" makes the service distinct from the company's Prime-only music library, which offers access to "over a million songs". A standard Prime subscription costs $99 (£79) annually.

The four-month discount is only valid for Prime members and is only redeemable toward an Amazon Music Unlimited Individual Monthly Plan. The offer ends on July 11.

Data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) estimates that Amazon Prime membership has grown 35 percent in the past year. Figures suggest there were 85 million Prime members as of June 30, 2017, while CIRP's June 2016 estimate put the number at 63 million.

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Amazon Announces Third Annual ‘Prime Day’ for July 11

Following the debut of "Prime Day" in 2015, and its return in 2016, Amazon this morning announced the third annual Prime Day will arrive next month, on July 11. Amazon calls this year's event an "epic day of deals on everything you're into," and like previous iterations you'll have to be subscribed to Amazon Prime to gain access to the discounts.

Prime Day is expanding this year as well, beginning officially on July 10 at 6 PM PT and lasting a total of 30 hours into July 11, with "new deals as often as every five minutes." Additionally, Amazon has expanded the sale to 13 total countries in 2017, including the U.S., U.K., Spain, Mexico, Japan, Italy, India, Germany, France, China, Canada, Belgium and Austria.


To give a spotlight on small businesses throughout Prime Day, Amazon said that nearly 40 percent of the Lightning Deals that appear during the event will come from small businesses and entrepreneurs.
“Our members love Prime Day and we have been thrilled by the response over the last two years. It is inspiring us to make it even better this year for Prime members,” said Greg Greeley, Vice President, Amazon Prime. “Every part of our business is working to deliver more deals for a record number of shoppers. This year’s Prime Day is too big for 24 hours – so we’re giving Prime members 30 hours to shop!”
Deals will be organized by more than 20 themes, including topics like pet lovers, gardeners, techies, artists, and more, so shoppers can quickly find items that they're interested in. To entice users to engage with Alexa devices, Amazon is introducing even more Alexa-exclusive deals discoverable through Echo devices and Fire Tablets.


Similar to last year, Amazon is touting its TV deals in 2017, saying that a large variety of brands will be sold on Prime Day and specifically naming the new Element 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV - Amazon Fire TV Edition. Amazon said that Prime Day 2017 will represent "one of its largest volume TV deals in history," with a record amount of inventory, but Amazon reminded shoppers the TV category is the one likely to sell out the fastest.

To prepare, Amazon encourages shoppers to visit the Amazon app on iOS [Direct Link] to preview, track, shop deals, and set up alerts. Leading up to July 11, the company is also offering discounts on various subscriptions and items across the website every day, and starting today that includes discounts related to Amazon Music Unlimited, Prime Video, Kindle Unlimited, Audible, and Prime Pantry items. More information about the items on sale now can be found on Amazon's Prime Day webpage.


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Amazon Dash Wand Barcode Scanner Launched With Built-In Alexa

Amazon has launched a new version of its Dash barcode scanning device for Prime U.S. subscribers that includes the company's ubiquitous virtual assistant built in.

Called the Dash Wand, the Alexa-enabled gadget allows users to scan grocery barcodes, convert measurements, and order essential household items from Amazon with the click of a button.


Pressing the button activates the Dash Wand, enabling customers to use their voice to ask about recipes and find local restaurants. It's also possible to control smart lighting via the magnetic device, which is designed to be attached to a fridge.

With the original Dash, released in 2014, users could scan barcodes and add items to their shopping cart via limited voice controls, but checkout had to be completed on the Amazon site.


By contrast, the new $20 Dash Wand allows users to buy items directly. Prime subscribers also receive $20 off their next purchase once they've registered the device, so it basically comes free. In addition, buyers get a free 90-day trial of the AmazonFresh home grocery service.


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Amazon Unveils Curated TV Subscriptions Strategy with ‘Anime Strike’ Prime Channel

Amazon launched Anime Strike this week, the company's first self-branded content to appear under its Channels subscriptions program for Prime members.

Anime Strike offers U.S. Prime members access to over 1,000 anime TV shows and movies for an extra $4.99 per month on top of the $99 Prime subscription. Amazon says the channel will serve up seinen classics as well as weekly anime exclusives from Japan. A seven-day free trial lets Prime members check out the channel, which features "The Great Passage", "Scum's Wish, and "Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga", as well as anime classics like "Paprika" and "Tokyo Godfathers".

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Amazon's existing add-on video subscription services include channels such as HBO, Comedy Central’s Stand-Up Plus, and Cinemax, but Anime Strike is the company's first own-branded, curated offering. Speaking to Variety, Amazon said it plans to launch additional branded subscription VOD channels in the coming months.

The move indicates intensifying competition among streaming services, with a wider range of exclusive content becoming increasingly necessary if companies are to fend off rival offerings. Back in November, sources claimed Apple was considering a price drop for Apple Music in time for the holiday period, with Amazon cited as the "biggest motivation" for the discussions over monthly pricing. However, the service's $9.99 price tag remains in place, and with reports this week that Apple is planning to create its own original TV shows for Apple Music, more content rather than lower cost appears to be the overriding strategy.

Amazon already serves up original TV content to Prime members through Instant Video, while the company's Amazon Music Unlimited service costs $7.99 per month (or $9.99 per month for non-Prime members). According to The Wall Street Journal, Amazon has held talks with a number of sports leagues including the NFL and NBA about obtaining live game rights, with a view to either including a sports package as part of its Prime membership or offering it as a paid add-on.

In July of last year, Amazon U.S. was estimated to have 63 million Prime members – more than half the online retailer's customer base.


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