I have three super powers:
- A great grasp of logic.
- A great sense of “value” (at least as it pertains to myself).
- The ability to write with humility.
Okay, maybe I only have two super powers… and they aren’t very “super.”
Part of this is why I can look at Beachbody Shakeology and say, “Hmmm, $4 a serving for what looks to be a $1 or $1.50 product seems fishy.” It’s what Spider-man would say has his Spidey-sense tingling.
Years of frugal shopping have trained me to do this automatically at grocery stores, restaurants, almost everywhere. Just like how you can’t look at words and shut off your ability to read them, I can’t shut off this subconscious calculator.
Then Amazon Music Unlimited was unleashed on the world.
When looking at the pricing options, my subconscious calculator says, “division by zero.”
Why I Find Amazon’s Music Unlimited Pricing So Difficult
Before I get to that, I should explain what Amazon Music Unlimited is. At the risk of over simplifying it is a subscription service to pretty much any song that you’d ever want to listen to. There’s going to be some gaps, obviously, but I read it is tens of millions of songs, which is on par with Spotify, Apple, and Google’s offerings. To make it easier, I’ll use the abbreviation SAG to refer to them.
Let’s start with the first thing. If you are NOT an Amazon Prime member the price is $9.99 a month. I think that’s the same price as the SAG options. That means it isn’t so much as a financial choice rather than a preference or convenience based on what ecosystem you may be in.
If you are a Prime member (like me), things get very interesting. Let’s pretzel!
First, Prime members already get a music subscription library, Prime Music. It seems have a few million songs. I can get a lot of my favorite Jack Johnson songs, but not the ones from the Curious George movie. There are some Liz Phair songs, but not her early stuff. Prime Music has a lot, but it’s not close to everything.
The best part Prime Music comes as part of the $99 annual subscription. So some part of my $8.25 a month already goes to that. Let’s call that $2, because I get some 2 day shipping and the kids watch some Go Diego Go! and Tumbleleaf
To get Amazon Music Unlimited, I’d have to further spend $79 a year, or $6.58 a month. There’s a monthly subscription price if I didn’t want to commit to a year, but my value brain/calculator prohibits me from paying $7.99/mo. when I could pay $6.58/mo.
Is it worth paying $6.58 to fill in the gaps of songs that I’m missing? Pretzel.
Some people happy pay the SAG companies $9.99 a month, so this would be a great deal for them. I’m not one of them, but at some price point, I’d have to say, “Well why not?” Thus far, I’ve decided that it isn’t worth it me.
But there’s more salt to add to the pretzel!
If you have an Amazon Echo, you have more options. I’m a huge fan of these devices and created my own site, Alexa/Echo devoted to reviewing the devices. With either an Echo or an Echo Dot you can get Amazon Music Unlimited for $3.99 a month.
That $3.99 price is enough of a deal to push my fleshy calculator into buying mode. I’ve got my credit card ready and I’m clicking…
…wait a second. The $3.99 price is only on one Echo device. If I get it for my Echo downstairs where I am 60% of the time, I don’t get it for my Echo Dot upstairs, the other 40%. It’s not streaming from my computer or mobile apps. If it covered all my Echo devices, an account that covers my own home, I’d get it. I think $50 a year would be reasonable.
Instead, the price point for the Echo only complicates matters. It makes me feel like I “deserve” the $3.99 price because I will most often listen to it on my Echo. This makes it even more difficult for me to pay $6.58.
It feels kind of silly to even get into a discussion on something about so little money. If I didn’t have a personal finance blog, I most certainly wouldn’t. I probably spent more time writing this article than it would have taken me to earn a year’s worth of music, right? I write about it, because it’s interesting introspection (at least for me), you be the judge.
Before I end this, I should mention there’s also a family price for Amazon Music Unlimited. My wife is more of a fan of Google Play and my sons, at age 2 and 4, aren’t large music consumers (except for that Curious George soundtrack). The pricing isn’t very competitive until you get savings for 3 or more people. That’s an easy option for me to take off the table right away. As the boys get older though, a family plan might make a lot of sense, especially because there’s annual pricing that makes it around $12.50 a month.