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Amazon: Bargain Music Anchored to Echo?

Find your customers wherever they are. Engage with them on the platform, channel or device of their choice. That’s the new marketing mantra, surely?  So it’s counter-intuitive that Amazon would launch a discount music service tied to an immobile object.

Well, not literally immobile, of course. Pick up a nearly two pound, nine inch tall Echo speaker and yes, you can move it from place to place. But that’s not the mobile revolution as we know it. According to Recode, however, Amazon is planning to launch a discount music streaming service—$4 or $5 per month—which will deliver online playback via the Echo speaker only. It will also, the report says, launch a more conventional service, available across devices, for around $10 per month; much the same price consumers pay for Spotify, Napster, etc.

Listeners would love to pay less for unlimited music, but surely not at the price of being tied to a weighty speaker. The boom box isn’t coming back any time soon. What’s more, it’s worth noting the disanalogies with the Kindle eco-system. For one thing—and most obviously in this context—Kindle downloads are available on smartphones, and not just on Amazon’s Kindle device. But Amazon derives Kindle revenues above all from book sales. There’s no reason to suppose that a music streaming service will drive music sales to the same extent (it will be possible to download paid tracks for offline playback).

Not crystal clear, then, what Amazon’s strategy is here, assuming the reporting is accurate. Especially as people aren’t about to sit still for digital content.

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