Amazon Music was launched mid 2015 as a direct competitor of other music streaming services and music stores. Itunes is a target and Amazon is the prime suspect of that. The app is very good although it has its flaws as it’s not very intuitive to use. That is why I have written the ultimate Amazon music app guide!
It’s easy to stream music from Amazon Prime and as long as you are in the ‘Prime music’ tab you can literally click on any play button you see and use the preset filters they give you. Instead we are going to search using the search bar at the top right for ‘Foo fighters’. Now under the artists title we can see ‘Foo fighters’ and have two choices of either hovering and clicking the shuffle button or proceeding to their albums. If you click shuffle it will play the entire Foo Fighters discography.
If you have any Foo Fighters songs in your offline library (more about offline libraries further in the article) then it will try to play those rather than waste streaming bandwidth (why would you if it’s already on your computer?). The problem is that if you have removed the drive that has your music on it (guilty) then the shuffle will stop with an error message saying ‘Missing File’ and will not continue unless you click ok.
Alternatively you can click through their albums and hit the big ‘play’ icons to choose individual albums or songs and avoid this problem.
You can shuffle individual albums by enabling the shuffle icon on the footer bar that appears after playing a song or album. There’s a number of options in the footer bar, notably the loop button. Amazon explains in their FAQs that to use the loop/repeat button.
Tap once to repeat all songs in the album or playlist. Tap twice to repeat the current song over and over.
Adding to your library
Go straight to the ‘Prime Music’ tab and it will automatically put you in the ‘recommended’ filter. For testing purposes it doesn’t matter what you click on as long as you know after you can delete the album or song by right clicking and selecting ‘delete from cloud’.
Now there are multiple ways to add an album to your library. You can hover over the album cover and click the ‘Plus’ icon to add it to your library.
If you want to view and listen to all the tracks in the album click on the album cover title text to be safe. Hit the big ‘add to library’ button to add the whole album to your library or alternatively the little blue ‘Plus’ icons to add just a single song to your library.
If you really just want to sit back and listen to a variety of songs then you can always head over to ‘Prime Music’ and then ‘Stations’. The radio on there is automated and goes through the Amazon Prime directory after picking a genre.
Earlier I was talking about some shuffling issues as Amazon Music mixes in your local tracks. Another way to just play ‘Prime Music’ is to click ‘Start Station’ after searching for an Artist. This will then play a radio station of just Beatles tracks.
There’s two ways you can do this, the first way is by downloading music from Prime Music so an internet connection isn’t required when you want to play them later. Quite useful if you have a really poor connection for streaming and get constant interruptions. Currently only on mobile Apps can music be downloaded for offline playback. The reason is most likely to be because Amazon could not stop users from transferring the songs outside Amazon Music when on desktop applications. At the moment by downloading songs onto your mobile device they can be only played in-app. This stops people from sharing music with all their friends and keeps people using Amazon Music.
The second way is the play music locally from your computer which doesn’t require an internet connection. This is particularly useful if you don’t have an Amazon Prime membership.
Downloading tracks onto mobile devices
To download music from Amazon Prime for offline playback, it’s less than straight forward first time round. For starters click what is generally called the ‘Sticky Menu’ button (Three horizontal lines at the top left) and touch ‘Prime Music’.
Now click on any Album you want and when it finally loads there’s four icons that do the following: ‘Play’, ‘Shuffle’, ‘Download Album’ and ‘Add To library’. The third icon (An arrow pointing down with a line underneath) will download the entire Album.
If you want to download one individual song from that album for offline playback there’s another way. Once you’ve found the song you want to download you will see two icons next to it. There’s a ‘Plus’ button which will add the song to your cloud library and next to that a button consisting of ‘Three dots’ in a vertical line. Touch the dotted icon and a number of options will come up, touch ‘Download’ to download that song.
Playing music locally (from your computer)
To play music from your computer you will first need to sync Amazon Music with the drive or folder your music is in. Here’s something I personally suggest not to do. If you have hundreds of thousands of songs, do not sync them as syncing all of those will overload the App causing it to slow or maybe even crash. Go back to the ‘Sticky Menu’ button and then click ‘Settings’. You will see ‘Add new songs to computer library’ and an ‘Add folder’ button which you can click. Follow on to select a folder that has your music library in it. The app will then start to sync your music library.
To play the synced music albums and tracks is easy once you know how. There’s two icons on the top left of the desktop app. The first is a ‘Cloud’ icon, the second is a ‘Computer Screen’ which after clicking will lead you to your music from your computer.
To play a song from a particular artist click the ‘artists’ button and scroll on the left side. I’ve selected Howlin’ Wolf and straight awayafter double clicking an album you can see two icons at the top underneath the artist name, ‘Play’ and ‘Shuffle’. Choose to toggle ‘Shuffle’ to play songs in a random order on that album and proceed to click the ‘Play button’. Double click any individual track to play it straight away.
There are a few other filters such as ‘Songs’, ‘Genres’ and ‘Albums’ that can be used to view your library. At this point you will wish you had a more organised music library because if it’s not you’re better off using the search at the very top right. When searching it’s useful to know there’s three buttons at the top that say ‘Prime music’, ‘Your library’ and ‘Store’.
Switching between these will change what database you are searching in and generally when looking through your own music you will want to be in ‘Your Library’. One problem that you may find that can’t be solved is that the results are both your ‘Cloud Library’ and ‘Computer Library’. Further on in the article there are some workarounds but no real solution.
Buying Music from Amazon, Why do it?
You might be thinking, why buy music frm Amazon when I can just stream it or download it for offline playback? Well yes you can but there is only one thing which was mentioned earlier in the article. You can’t get the Prime music downloaded for offline playback out of the Amazon Music Application. The only way to have 100% control of the music is to buy it. Once you have bought an album or track it can be downloaded to any specified folder on your computer. There’s a number of settings, the most useful being ‘Automatically download Amazon Music Purchases’ and a ‘Change…’ button to change the download folder. You can adjust the settings by clicking the ‘Sticky Menu’ button (Three horizontal lines icon) at the top left and selecting ‘Settings’. To buy music click the ‘Store’ which is next to ‘Your Library’.
Playlists are really useful for grouping together your favourite tracks or specifics for an event. At a formal party, the last thing you want to come up is Cannibal Corpse, scaring off the guests. The first thing you need to do is make sure you are in ‘Your Library’ and we can get started.
On the Cloud
After clicking on the ‘Cloud’ icon at the top left we can be sure you are in the right place. By creating a playlist on the cloud, it means it will be available across all your devices. Move on to selecting ‘Playlists’ and then at the bottom left in a hard to see grey area click what we can call the ‘Sticky Musicial Note’ button that has ‘new’ written next to it.
If you cant be bothered to create a playlist, don’t worry! Lots of other users have created their own playlists which you can see by going to the ‘Prime Music’ tab and then clicking ‘playlists’. Scroll to the bottom to ‘explore playlists by genre’ because that’s the best way to search through a lot of playlists.
On your Computer
Click the ‘Computer’ icon which is next to the ‘Cloud’ icon and head over to ‘Playlists’ which is right next to the button you just pressed. By creating a playlist here, it will only be available on your current device and can consist of only the songs you have on your computer already. Proceed to what we call the ‘Sticky Musicial Note’ button that has ‘new’ written next to it to begin creating your playlist.
Now the easiest way to add music to this playlist is to click ‘Add songs’ and further choose a filter. There are four filters to choose from, ‘Artists’, ‘Albums’, ‘Songs’ and ‘Genre’.
It’s then easy to drag and drop songs or albums to the right sidebar on your playlist name; don’t miss though or you’ll create another playlist.
After doing that they will then be added to your playlist. To access your playlist, head over to ‘playlists’ and click on your playlist.
Uploading to the Cloud Library
Uploading using this tool is kind of cool because it does all the hard work of detecting duplicates. Now you get 250 slots for songs and it’s really straight forward to upload songs. By uploading songs to the cloud you can access songs that you already own across all your devices. This means you can also add them to ‘Cloud’ playlists which you otherwise couldn’t do. To increase your upload limit head over to amazon and click on ‘my account’ and scroll down till you see the header ‘Digital Management’.
Underneath there’s a link called ‘Your Amazon music settings’. After clicking you will see the option ‘Import up to 250,000 songs for £21.99/year‘. You’ll also notice you can add up to 10 devices to your music library which could come in handy for friends or family. The price is a bit steep, it’s a shame there is no inbetween for tariffs!
Finally (get on with it Johnny!) to upload a song move your cursor to the ‘upload’ button which is next to the music filter ‘genre’. Move on to clicking either ‘select file’ or ‘select folder’ if there is more than one song you need to upload. After clicking ‘artists’ you should be able to see the author of the tracks you uploaded in your ‘Prime Music’ cloud library.
Amazon Music is really confusing, if you don’t watch out you’ll be zapping your bandwidth by accidentally downloading tracks for offline use. Even worse, you could be buying songs without realising. Don’t let this put you off, after spending a bit of time working out the app it could be your best friend. The offline library options make Amazon music good for not just online streaming but also as a client for your existing music. The cloud allows you to upload any music from your offline library to take it online. Prime music is probably the biggest perk of them all if you have a Prime account already. There is a huge catalog of music that you might have not even known about. The radio they supply skips all the radio talk and streams just music without advertising. Preset playlists are pretty much the same thing but you can design your own offline or online. The app is available across a number of devices but also note there is a web application if you don’t feel comfortable downloading anything. A lot of features come with Amazon music, give it a go and comment below!
Note: Prime music is only available in the US and UK at the moment.