Amazon is locked in a struggle with Google, Apple, and a few others for attention from your eyeballs, all of the time. Mostly it does this by offering services through Amazon Prime, which we all buy for $80 a year because we save that in shipping around Christmas anyway, and Amazon Instant Video has a few useful exclusives. And now Amazon wants to add a music service. And if the rumors are to be believed, it’ll be terrible.
How terrible? Here are a few tidbits from the Wall Street Journal’s reporting on the negotiations:
Amazon… may limit how much a person can listen to any given song, according to people familiar with the matter. …Amazon has told record companies it would pay them out of a fixed pool of money…instead of compensating them based on how often users listen to their songs. Music companies are seeking to withhold their newest music from the service, a person familiar with the matter said, though details were unclear as the negotiations are in process.
So, essentially, Amazon wants to create a streaming music service. But it won’t have any new music on it. It’s not willing to actually pay the labels for music in the first place. And it wants to ensure that you can’t listen to the songs you actually like more than a handful of times.
This is all unsubstantiated, but if true, it’s patently ridiculous. Who would use this, when Spotify and Pandora are free with ads? Even by the standards of music streaming, which is notoriously bad and condescending to the artists that keep them paid, this is a lousy deal. Why Amazon thinks people will buy the song instead of just going to a competitor is baffling.
Essentially, Amazon wants to make the world’s worst streaming oldies station. We’ll be curious to see if, and how, that works out for them.