For some, Amazon Music’s big expansion of Prime comes with big disappointments

Amazon announced this week that it will open up its entire catalog of streaming music to Prime subscribers instead of the limited, scaled-down library they previously had access to. The number jumped from 2 million songs to 100 million. At first glance, this sounds like great news. Who wouldn’t want more songs without spending anything extra on top of their Prime subscription? You would normally have to pay separately for Amazon Music Unlimited to get the same huge selection.

But it turns out there are people who are a lot angered by the changes Amazon made in the course of expanding its catalog for Prime customers. They now have much less control over the listening experience. As a lifelong music geek, I can relate to anyone who’s freaked out because a service they were familiar with suddenly revised its rules and started working differently than it did just a few days earlier. In this case, Amazon made significant changes to the basic level of Amazon Music after years of subscribers adjusting to its benefits.

Not everyone is disappointed. I’ve read a lot of “that’s great” responses on social media from those who tend to use Amazon Music for background music or casual listening. A tone of people asking Alexa to hear a certain artist on their Echo speaker, often not caring what song might come up.

Still, Prime customers are once again reminded that they never own anything with streaming services, and anything can change on a dime. On the other hand, Amazon Music is learning the lesson that people use free services more often than many of us realize. And once they get used to something, you’d better have a good reason to make changes that big. Do they deserve more songs? To the casual listener, probably yes. But there is definitely a vocal contingent that is unhappy with the new approach.

From what I’ve gathered so far, the main hurdle is that Prime customers have lost the ability to hear exactly what they want when they want. The old catalog was much smaller, yes, but it allowed on-demand access to every song or album featured. And if you’ve made a playlist of songs from the Prime playlist, you can listen and skip wherever you want.

That is now (almost) all gone.

Apparently, in order to extend Amazon Music Unlimited’s massive catalog to Prime subscribers, the company had to immediately eliminate the freedom to play a specific song. Now everyone is stuck in the shuffle country. Additionally, customers complain (with a lot of profanity in this case) that the carefully curated playlists are switch to “similar” songs instead of sticking to their original order of movement. If you try to beat the shuffle system by creating new playlists of music you really want to hear, they’ll also be full of recommended songs.

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In other words, the Prime-included version of Amazon Music now behaves much like Spotify’s free, ad-supported tier—albeit without the pesky ads. The previous Prime experience was relatively unique in terms of how much flexibility it provided. And now everything works much differently.

Amazon’s value is that perks like ad-free listening, offline downloads, and podcast perks make up for the lack of on-demand music selection. In addition, there are 15 “All-Access” playlists, several of which are customized for each user, which do allow you to select a specific track or skip to your heart’s content. Again, this all comes with a Prime membership and costs nothing extra. But that’s not the same as Free of chargeand some frustrated Prime subscribers now they are considering canceling the service.

Several customers are reporting issues and errors when trying to play songs they’ve purchased and uploaded in ways that were previously possible. At the very least, they believe some of that content is getting harder to find. Amazon Music stopped accepting uploads years ago, but the company still sells a lot of digital music separately from its subscription service. And he continues to give away digital copies to customers who buy select CDs and vinyl albums from his store. None of this should be more difficult to access after this move. If so, you should probably contact the company’s customer service department.

Purchased music remains available through your library, Amazon Music artist/album pages, and through Alexa. The only asterisk is that if you have a playlist that mixes owned content with other songs, it will play in shuffle mode. Playlists that consist exclusively of purchased music can be streamed on demand. If you’re seeing different behavior, it’s possible that Amazon is still working on the issues after this big catalog expansion.

On the edge has reached out to Amazon for comment. Either way, the company has no intention of going back down this new path; Amazon Music VP Steve Boom laid out all the reasons for the changes Decoderand some analyst firms see huge potential. Unfortunately, letting you choose between 2 million songs with full control or shuffle mode for 100 million songs also seems a bit impractical. But there’s no way Amazon isn’t hearing this feedback and frustration. Meanwhile, disheartened customers are considering whether to get a full Amazon Music Unlimited subscription or go elsewhere for their music fix.

I wish I had some valuable advice to share, but I lead a life of chaos when it comes to digital music: in addition to my Apple Lossless library, I subscribe to Spotify, pay an annual subscription to Amazon Music, and have hundreds of personal uploads to stream on YouTube Music. I’m pretty sure I get free Apple Music from Verizon as well. If a service ever breaks my heart, at least I have options. Maybe that’s the bottom line: always have a backup plan in this ever-evolving subscription era.

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