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Amazon unveils next stage of local expansion

Just over a month after launching its marketplace in Australia, Amazon has decided to launch its music service locally and will begin pre-orders on its suite of voice devices early next month.

The move represents the first expansion to Amazon’s offer since its launch, forbearing expectations that it will look to launch its Prime loyalty program in Australia before the end of the year.

Customers in Australia and New Zealand will be able to stream a catalogue of more than 45 million songs through Amazon Music Unlimited from 1 February.

Pre-orders will also begin for Amazon Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Plus products from today, with shipping slated to begin early next month.

Amazon announced its intention to launch its voice devices locally late last year, and does so at a time when Ebay and Kogan are teaming up with Google’s voice assistant to launch their own voice services.

In the US Amazon has sold more than 16 million echo devices, tying its voice assistant Alexa to a suite of Prime program services such as music and video streaming, as well as voice shopping.

“We’ve seen phenomenal feedback from customers who use Amazon Music Unlimited, and we’re thrilled to bring an entirely new world of music streaming possibilities to listeners in Australia and New Zealand,” said Sean McMullan, head of international expansion for Amazon Music.

 “We’re opening doors for our customers to have access to an incredible catalogue of music, and to be able to listen to some of their favourite artists while using the power of voice in exciting new ways.”

The offer will be available to local customers through three monthly plan options. The Echo plan will enable steaming on a single echo device for $4.99 a month, while a slightly more extensive Individual Plan will cost $11.99 a month. A family plan, which will enable up to six people in a household to share a subscription, will be launched soon at $17.99 a month.

Analysts noted last year that while Amazon’s local launch may have fallen short of expectations, the giant would become a much more compelling competitor when it began to expand the breadth of its offer locally.

“I’m not discounting the fact that they’ll have a big impact, I just think it will take time and the big game changer will be with Prime because when they get you into that point where you’re part of the Amazon ecosystem,” UBS analyst Ben Gilbert said last December.

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