Amazon launches ad-supported music service to Echo owners

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Amazon today announced the launch of a free, ad-supported music service in the U.S. that will be available to anyone who wants to play free music on their Echo speaker.

Until today, Echo owners who wanted to stream music from Amazon could either pay for an annual Prime membership for access to Prime Music or they could pay $3.99 per month to stream from Amazon Music Unlimited (or $9.99/month to stream on non-Echo devices, as well.)

The new service has the same catalog as Prime Music, which today has just over two million songs. Amazon Music Unlimited, meanwhile, has 50 million songs.

The new service gives Echo owners a way to enjoy free music from Amazon on their Echo, instead of having to turn to a third-party free provider, like Spotify or Pandora. It will also offer a way to push Echo owners to upgrade to the paid subscription services Amazon offers, including its Amazon Music Unlimited service and even Prime itself.

Amazon’s plans to wade into the free streaming market and more directly compete with Spotify had been previously leaked by Bloomberg. The report noted that Amazon had been in discussions with the labels in order to obtain the