Amazon is quickly becoming a multimedia giant, and looks to challenge both Google and Apple as the go-to service for all you video and music needs. Their latest venture is Amazon Prime Music. A new service that lets Amazon Prime members enjoy some of the same features that you get with Google Play All Access. Below, I will list the pros and cons of AP Music and compare it to Google’s offerings.
If you are an Amazon Prime member guess what? You already have access to AP Music. Amazons continues to treat its Prime members with added services at no extra cost. For a simple annual fee you now have access to special discounts on Amazon merchandise, free 2 day shipping on select products, Amazon Instant Video and now Prime music. This comes at a paltry price tag of just $8.33/month ($99/yr). That’s less expensive than Google Plays All Access ($9.99/month) and Netflix ($8.99/month). Quite frankly this is the best deal you can get on the internet.
AP Music has more songs that you can buy than Google Play. While comparing the two services I noticed that there were incomplete albums on Google Play. An example of this the Inception soundtrack. On AP Music there are twelve songs while on Google Play there are only nine. Google Play is also missing some big name bands. One of which is my favorite, Metallica. You can’t even buy it on Google Play, yet every single album is available on Amazon.
No Chromecast Support
How a media app from a company as big as Amazon can not have Chromecast support is simply baffling. I use my home theater system for my music, and AP Music is useless to me without this function. Amazon’s stance on not supporting the Chromecast API in their apps is doing nothing but hurting their own brand.
Boring and Lazy UI
Without a doubt this is the most boring looking media app I have ever seen from a major company. It continues the trend of black and orange color scheme that reminds me of Gingerbread, even though it does conform to some of Androids 4.4 app design. The app is essentially nothing more than a music list and does not have a responsive layout. Where Google Play fills your screen with album art and uses swipe gestures to navigate the menu tabs, AP Music gives a mundane list of music with wasted screen real estate on larger displays.
Speaking of larger displays, AP Music does not have a landscape mode. For those of you ten inch tablets you’re out of luck. Anyone who uses a tablet docked to a station will have to undock and use their tablet in portrait mode. Not very ideal for a 10.1 inch display. The lack of a responsive layout and no landscape option goes towards my lazy comments. These are the bare minimum features that an app should have in today’s Android market. When dealing with multiple display sizes and hardware configurations, the app needs to use the screen real estate efficiently. It looks as though Amazon put very little effort in their design and makes using AP Music a very boring experience.
Where’s the Radio?
If you are going to compete with All Access, Pandora, Spotify and iRadio, you need to have the same functions. Customizable radio channels are one of the best features that these other music streaming services have. It allows you to pick and choose what type of music you want to listen to without having to actually choose each song. You listen to music you probably don’t have saved to your device, but enjoy hearing when it comes on. AP Music has none of that and instead makes you find every song you want to listen too and place it in a playlist.
Remember when I said AP Music has more music that you can buy when compared to Google Play? That hasn’t changed in the last five paragraphs. What I left out was the number of songs you can listen too for free with your Prime membership. While AP Music has more music you can buy, Google Play All Access has more music you can listen too and download without paying for them separately. This fact is more prevalent when looking for newer music or popular bands. Another one of my favorite bands is Volbeat. Not one song is available to download from AP Music without paying separately for it. On All Access, every Volbeat song can be added to your library for free.
Bugs and Glitches
There have been two major bugs that have occurred multiple times while use AP Music. The first is the music suddenly restarting while in the middle of the song. This has happened on both my HTC One and LG G Pad. I’ll be listening to a song when suddenly it stops playing and starts over. The second is the music controls disappear. Sometime when I play a song, the music controls that are supposed to be at the bottom of the screen, as well as the being placed in the notification tray, suddenly disappear. This means that I have no control over the song anymore. I even tried playing another song to try and “reset” the music player and instead both songs played at the same time, forcing me to go into the device settings and force stop the app.
The largest draw to Amazon Prime Music is the price. If you are already a Prime member, there is no reason not to have it. Unfortunately I can’t recommend dropping your All Access music subscription for this service. The benefits just aren’t there. The app looks like a first draft design and it’s too glitchy at this point. I think it’s safe to say that Amazons music venture just isn’t ready for Prime time.