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Amazon Planning Free Streaming Music and TV Service (Updated)

by Todd Haselton | March 27, 2014March 27, 2014 1:30 pm PST

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Amazon is holding an event on April 2 where it says it will discuss its future plans for video, though during that event we’re mostly expecting hardware-related news in the form of an HDTV dongle. That piece of hardware may soon deliver streaming TV and music content also provided by Amazon, however, and not just to Amazon Prime members.

The Wall Street Journal said Thursday that Amazon is gearing up to launch new free ad-supported content, which will include streaming music in addition to original streaming TV shows. The news outlet said Amazon has already approached the writers behind the series “Betas” — a TV show that is already a Prime original and that might be offered under Amazon’s new streaming TV plan with advertisements. (The WSJ said a second season isn’t definite).

The free music service, if supported by ads, could act just like Pandora or Spotify, both of which have free models that play an advertisement every few songs. The free versions don’t allow users to manually select a specific song. Meanwhile, Amazon may also add free ad-supported music videos, too.

Presumably Amazon’s business model is to also offer these options to Prime members, though without advertisements. That would make its content widely available to all — probably an advertiser’s dream — and then customers who want even more, and without ads, can subscribe to Amazon Prime. We don’t know when Amazon will discuss these plans, though The Wall Street Journal said the current plan is for a launch in the coming months.

UPDATE: Amazon has denied the report in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter saying, “We have no plans to offer a free streaming media service.”

Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...