SEATTLE (Hypebot) – Re/code's esteemed Peter Kafka is reporting that "sources say" Amazon is in talks with major labels about a streaming music service. Last March The Verge's esteemed Greg Sandoval reported much the same thing. While it can be expected that Amazon would have ongoing discussions, it's hard to tell from random leaks what's really going on. However, "one label source" says Amazon isn't moving forward because they want a much better deal than other services get.
Peter Kafka's "sources" tell him that Amazon is again in talks with major labels about music subscription service possibilities except now they may be connected to Amazon Prime like their streaming video service.
"One label source reports that Amazon isn’t close to getting a deal done, because its executives are asking for a substantial discount on the pricing the labels have given to other services, like Spotify, Rhapsody and Beats."
That doesn't sound promising. Hard to see what the incentive for discounted pricing would be.
The other big difference in this current rumor vs. earlier rumors is a possible tie-in to Amazon Prime.
Currently Amazon offers video streaming and sales via individual title. When streaming is offered, you can usually pay for one showing or for a period of time. Many of these titles are also available for no additional charge to Amazon Prime members.
But as Kafka points out, Amazon's Prime-based video streaming hasn't really taken off and potential viewers are often unaware of what's available.
I've been watching movies off and on via my Amazon Prime membership since they were available at no additional charge. The quality of service and available titles is improving but remains fairly dismal compared to Netflix. In addition, they really are bad at surfacing content that might be of interest.
But perhaps more problematic is that as a Prime user I see streaming media as a free bonus. If Amazon raises Prime pricing as they're discussing, it not only makes me have to question its value but suddenly these "freebies" start to look like extras that are raising the price of Prime.
Given Amazon's combination of a willingness to wait and a willingness to lose money in an atmosphere in which major labels suddenly have a lot of options that don't have to include waiting or losing money, it looks like rumors of ongoing talks are set to continue.