Amazon Music Unlimited vs Spotify: Which is best?

The rise of Amazon Music Unlimited has gone hand-in-hand with the explosion in the use of Amazon Echo speakers and Alexa, its digital assistant. It integrates seamlessly with Echo devices, while also working just like any other streaming service on your phone and other devices. Spotify is probably the first service you think of when you think of music streaming – it’s been around the longest, integrates with loads of services, and has some very clever features.

But which service is best for you – Amazon Music or Spotify? We’ve looked at the features of both, how much Spotify and Amazon Music cost, and how you can access them to help you make your ultimate decision: should you subscribe to Spotify or Amazon Music Unlimited?

Amazon Music Unlimited vs Spotify: Prices compared

Music Unlimited Spotify
Free N/A Yes
Individual $8.99 / £8.99 $9.99 / £9.99
Family $15.99 / £16.99 $15.99 / £16.99
Student $5.99 / £5.99 $4.99 / £5.99
Single Device $4.99 / £4.99 N/A
Duo N/A $12.99 / £13.99

Amazon Music Unlimited is available with several different pricing tiers available. To help you get to grips with Amazon Music Unlimited and to decide if it’s the right service for you, Amazon offers a 30-day free trial. If you don’t subscribe to Amazon Prime, a Music Unlimited membership will cost you $10.99 / £10.99 a month, but if you do have a Prime account then you’ll only pay $8.99 / £8.99 a month.

Amazon Music unlimited text in white on a blue background


Amazon Music Unlimited

Amazon also offers a Single Device Plan for $4.99 / £4.99 a month, but you can only stream music through an Echo speaker (Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Plus, Echo Show, Echo Studio, Echo Input, Echo Spot) or Fire TV. Note that you can only use the $4.99 month Echo membership on a single Echo device and it can’t be transferred. If you have multiple Echo devices in your home and want to use Amazon Music Unlimited with all of them, you’ll need a regular individual membership. There’s also a Student Plan at $5.99. A Family Plan is available for £16.99/$15.99 a month for up to 6 family members.

Spotify has a slightly simpler pricing structure with four tiers: there’s a free ad-supported tier and a Premium tier that costs from $9.99 / £9.99 month. Spotify also offers a family subscription plan which costs $14.99 / £16.99 a month for you and up to five family members. Each member gets their own personal account. There’s a subscription called Duo, that grants two Premium accounts for a couple that lives together. This costs $12.99 per month. Students can also get a discounted membership for just $5.99 / £5.99.

On balance, Amazon is cheaper if you are a Prime Member or if you opt for the Single Device option if you just want to play through the one Echo speaker.

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Amazon Music Unlimited vs Spotify: Devices

While Amazon Music can be played on a wide range of devices, it’s in connectivity that Spotify has a killer feature – Spotify Connect. And even though Amazon has Alexa Cast – enabling you to cast to a variety of Alexa or Bluetooth devices from within the Music Unlimited app – it’s not quite as flexible as Spotify Connect. Spotify Connect enables you to control what is playing on any Spotify Connect device or Spotify app, from any other. That means you can use your desktop app to control Spotify on your Echo, you can pause it on your phone, find something else and play that on your PC instead. Each app gets to control the music wherever it’s playing.

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Amazon Music Unlimited is accessible through the Amazon Music app. The app can be downloaded on iOS and Android devices, as well as Mac and PC. You can also access it through a Web player in your browser and through the company’s Echo devices and Fire tablets. You can also play music through a Sonos multi-room system or Roku media streamer.

Spotify is available almost everywhere, there’s an app for iOS, Android, PC and Mac but it’s also available via Spotify Connect on a list of devices that’s almost too long to put here. You can get a Spotify app on select TVs from Panasonic, LG, Sony, Samsung, and Philips while Spotify works with stacks of audio products including those from Bose, Sonos, Onkyo, Denon, Yamaha, Pioneer, Naim, Libratone and Revo.

A wide range of car manufacturers, as well as Uber, have either built-in access via Spotify Connect, Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. The Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox One have apps for Spotify, along with Chromecast.

We’ve mentioned both on Amazon Echo devices – while Amazon Music is slightly better integrated, Spotify plays natively too, so there isn’t a huge difference in experience. And, naturally, you can always stream either from your phone to a Bluetooth speaker or another Bluetooth-enabled device.

Amazon Music Unlimited vs Spotify: Which offers better sound?

Spotify offers lower quality music through its web player, limited to 128kbps for the free tier and 256kbps on the Premium tier. A better experience is offered on the desktop and mobile apps. If you use the free tier and listen on a mobile, you can choose between 24kpbs (low), 96kbps (normal) or 160kbps (high) quality. On the premium tier through desktop or mobile apps you can choose between 24kbps (low), 96kbps (normal), 160kbps (high) or 320kbps (very high) quality. Note that these are bitrates and that the music is AAC – but that’s the information that Spotify shares. You can select the streaming and download quality in the app settings.

Amazon offers higher-quality music and if you pay for Music Unlimited, you get access to spatial audio – Dolby Atmos or 360 Reality Audio – as well as what Amazon calls Ultra HD – and there is no additional fee for this higher quality of music. Amazon says it has millions of songs at HD quality and thousands in spatial audio and again, you can choose the quality level from within the app. Amazon Music HD tracks are a minimum of 16-bit 44.1kHz – CD quality – and an average bitrate of 850kbps. Ultra HD tracks are 24-bit, with sample rates from 44.1kHz up to 192kHz, with an average bitrate 3730kbps. This is, effectively, supplying 10x the data that Spotify offers, so can deliver much higher quality audio.

That’s obvious when you listen to it too – although the devices you use will make a difference. You want to ensure that the headphones and player you are using are set up for this higher quality audio or you might not notice much of a difference. However, some devices (such as some Android phones) will support this higher quality music to drive your headphones better. If using an iPhone, you might need an external DAC – such as the Chord Mojo 2 – to get the best quality from the music

What about the family plan?

There’s a big difference in the way that family plans are handled too, especially when it comes to playing music through smart speakers. Both will offer family plans for multiple users, but Spotify will ask each user to sign in with their own email address. This is fine on mobile devices, but in a shared house playing through smart speakers, each user would then have to sign in with their individual account to enable multiple streams. For example, if Jack is playing Spotify on his Echo in his room, and Jill asks Spotify to play on her Echo in her room, the stream will stop on Jack’s speaker and move over to Jill’s

Amazon Music, however, offers multiple streams through its family plan, so both Jack and Jill would be able to get Amazon Music to play what they wanted on their respective speaker – as well as being able to access their own music on their mobile devices. With the Amazon Echo being so common in homes, it might be that the additional flexibility offered by Amazon Music makes it a better choice for families.

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Amazon Music Unlimited vs Spotify: Other features


Both Amazon Music Unlimited and Spotify offer personalised radio stations based on artists and tracks you like. Both have mood-based playlists and a list of auto-generated stations and you can also choose to start a station based on an artist or song you’re currently listening to. These can also be accessed on Echo devices.


Both services will let you create your own custom playlists you can then share with friends, or you can save curated ones to your collection.


Amazon’s Music app and the web player have a recommended section that serves up albums and playlists that it thinks you’ll like based on your listening habits.

Spotify meanwhile has a feature called Discover Weekly, which is an automatically curated playlist of songs that it thinks you’ll like based on your listening habits. It’s updated every Monday morning and from our experience, we’ve always liked what we’ve heard. There are other playlists such as Release Radar to keep you in the picture about new music. We have found the curation and discovery experience on Spotify to be better than Amazon Music.


Both Amazon Music Unlimited and Spotify offer offline playback. Amazon offers it as standard but you can only download songs from Spotify if you subscribe to the Premium tier.


Both services offer access to a range of podcasts through the respective players, so you can always find something other than music.

Amazon Music Unlimited vs Spotify: Which is best?

If you already have Amazon Prime and you’ve bought an Echo speaker or Echo Dot, paying just $4.99 a month makes it incredibly worthwhile if you just want playback on your Echo – certainly cheaper than paying for a full Spotify subscription. But for fans of music, it’s access to the more advanced formats, including spatial audio and Ultra HD lossless, which makes Amazon Music Unlimited more attractive. The prices are close, but the quality you can get out of Amazon is just much better.


Amazon Music Unlimited

However for many wanting to access music on the move, Spotify offers a better app experience, with better discovery and curated suggestions. The downside is the lack of quality, but for those streaming on a data plan, or just wanting to listen to music, that might not be such a concern. On the other hand, Spotify Connect is widely supported and great to use, with easy control of the music that’s playing on any speaker, from any app that’s signed in. This makes the user experience of Spotify better than Amazon Music.

For us, the real decider comes down to how important higher quality music is to you – where Amazon is the easy winner – or whether you want family support in a home full of smart speakers, where Amazon is again better. But for using on the move, music discovery and quickly managing music playing across different devices, Spotify is the better choice.