Remember the rumors last year of the Amazon box? While it was said to be expected at the end of last year, that just didn't happen. Well, the rumor is being circulated again, this time in a Wall Street Journal article. Now, however, there is more to the rumor than just a box.
The article says that Amazon plans to release a streaming music service in order to make consumers less hesitant to fork over more money for a Prime membership (increasing from $79 per year to $119). But will it even work? Can you just throw new services into the mix, when all they really want is the guaranteed two-day free shipping? What's more, music will only be available to you for a specific period of time.
The Mystery Box
It was due to be released during the holidays of 2013, but for some reason, it has yet to happen. The company hasn't released details. However, details are available regarding what you'll be able to do with the streaming box, Roku's rival. Of course, the box will allow you to stream content from Prime Instant Video. Additionally, it will allow you to watch streaming video from your Hulu Plus and Netflix account.
According to Gigaom, the box will not only come with a remote, you will be able to use your phone to launch Netflix and Prime Instant Video as well. It will be Android-based, so it isn't expected to come with YouTube. What's more, none of this is confirmed by Amazon itself. Most of it is gathered from clues, such as Amazon's appearance on a registry of companies able to use the DIAL multiscreen protocol that allows streaming from phone to television.
The Music Streaming Dilemma
Additionally, they plan to offer Prime members immediate access to certain digital music files, and are currently making offers to those in the music industry to negotiate the best deal. And according to Billboard, this isn't going very well.
To acquire the licenses for some tracks, Amazon is shooting what the music industry considers “lowball,” offers, and not budging on these figures. If you're an independent label, that figure is much lower than if you are signed on to a major label ($5 million per year versus $25 million per year, respectively).
You might want to stick with Spotify or Pandora, since the service will compile mostly older tracks, and tracks are said to only be available for a short amount of time. The idea is to get you over to Amazon to purchase the tracks for your personal collection. Of course, Amazon has not made a comment regarding this idea.
The music industry is convinced that Amazon isn't playing fair. They are taking advantage of the fact they are the number one place to purchase CDs online, but the record labels are worried they'll miss out on a huge chunk of revenue through this deal.
The other concern is related to competitors, companies like Spotify, who are paying much more – about $500 million to be exact – to offer consumers more value in terms of what you can do with the service. If users are being diverted from these services, will they go under and take even more money away from the industry?
Again, no one is really sure if these plans will come to fruition. Amazon hasn't confirmed anything. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Will Amazon ruin the music industry and streaming services in general? I guess we'll have to wait and see.