I’ve been a huge fan of Amazon Prime for years now. It all started with a free student trial when I wanted free shipping for college textbooks. When the six months free trial came to an end I was addicted to two day free shipping, so I paid thirty-nine dollars for another year, then another after that. This upcoming September I plan to pay the slightly raised price for yet another year of Amazon’s amazing service. Even when my student deal expires and I’m required to pay the ninety-nine dollars a year, I’ll probably do it, because being an Amazon Prime member continues to offer more perks as time goes on and I’m digging it.
Not only do I get free two-day shipping on just about everything I buy, and I buy a lot of stuff, but for the past few years I’ve been getting Amazon Prime free streaming. Now, I’ll be fair and say that Amazon doesn’t have anywhere near the selection that Netflix does, but it has been helpful and is a nice bonus. I bought the Amazon Prime membership for the free shipping, so everything else is a bonus, and free streaming is a nice one. As the years have gone by their streaming service has improved, too. It used to be I would plunk down in front of my computer when I had a night off and watch some sort of terrible B-movie that would have me in stitches. Now? There are a lot more choices as Amazon reaches out to broadcasting partners.
I mean come on, they just recently signed a deal with HBO. HBO has been exclusive for so long I cheered when I saw that they and Amazon had struck a deal to hook Prime members up with new content. Maybe we don’t have access to True Detective or Game of Thrones yet, but there are a lot of other great series that were nearly impossible to access unless someone was willing to purchase an HBO subscription. Now thousands of hours of solid television are available for Amazon Prime members.
Of course that isn’t the only way they’ve improved streaming. Amazon has taken a page out of Netflix’s book and recently made an offer to continue the British period drama Ripper Street even after the BBC cancelled it. That’s right, they’re now producing their own exclusive content in line with Netflix’s Orange is the New Black and House of Cards.
Outside of the shipping and streaming, Amazon Prime members also have access to the Kindle loaning library. Amazon will loan members a book for their Kindle to read for free and then return. There aren’t a lot of big titles included, but it can be nice when it comes to more obscure books or if you’re looking for something different. It is just another perk that makes the whole membership a bit sweeter.
How could it get better? Well, Amazon just made the next move in improving their service. Along with all of the other benefits mentioned above, they now offer free streaming. Their newest program is called Prime Music and it gives their members access to “over a million songs” according to the website, all free of charge. The best part? Ads are not included. Now, I’m a big Pandora fan and usually the ads are a small price to pay for the variety of music I have access to, but it is nice to see Amazon offering up a similar service free of ad distractions. Members now have access to long term, ad free, distraction free streaming.
You can choose your songs, or you can make a selection of one of their pre-made playlists, it is all up to you. It is just another way that Amazon is empowering their Prime members to do entertainment differently. That’s probably the thing I love most about Amazon: they constantly embrace the new trends. Honestly there are a lot of companies that I think are falling behind because they are less open to change. Long gone are the days of buying CDs and subscribing to cable (though to be fair a lot of people still subscribe to cable) because why would people spend thousands of dollars in a year for services they can get almost exclusively online? With a combination of Hulu Plus, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and any number of free streaming stations I have hours of television, movie, and music entertainment without breaking the bank.
Not only that, but if I want to catch up on new episodes of shows (since Netflix and Amazon Prime both tend to be delayed when receiving new episodes), most of the time I can go to the broadcast company’s website and watch them the next day online. As cell phones and tablets rise up as the main forms of entertainment, companies have to shift to cater to these new devices, and Amazon is doing just that with everything they now offer with their Prime membership.
So let me say this both as a tech junkie and as a long time member of Amazon Prime: it is worth it. It was worth it before they added live streaming, but that just makes the entire deal better. They are a dynamic, ever-changing company and I expect great things from being an Amazon Prime member in the years to come. I’m excited with this latest update and look forward to what is next.
Keep it up, Amazon. You get five stars from this happy customer.