On Tuesday, Amazon announced that its music streaming service, Prime Music, will now include albums from Universal Music artists. These artists include big names like Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, Lana Del Rey, Maroon 5, Of Monsters and Men, Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, Ellie Goulding, Drake, Lorde, and Eminem.
This is a big deal for Amazon, as one of the main gripes people had with Amazon Prime Music when it launched last summer was that its catalog was filled with old titles no one wanted to listen to. Prime Music advertised having "more than one million songs" available to stream, but that’s a far cry from Spotify’s 30 million. And it didn’t feel like Amazon was rolling out a competitor to the elite music streaming services, but rather just placing a cherry on top of its Prime subscription.
Prime members already enjoy two-day free shipping and special offers on products, paired with Prime’s rising video streaming service. The music part was an afterthought to many people, and was woefully short on popular genres like rap and EDM.
With the addition of Universal's catalog of artist, that might be starting to change. Universal is a powerhouse in the music industry and was one of the most obvious holes in Amazon’s music library. And while Prime Music is still nowhere near services like Spotify or Apple Music in terms of catalog, this new deal shows Amazon is putting a priority on getting top-shelf artists on its service.
The video portion of Amazon Prime has also made immense strides in quality in the last year. Last year, Netflix had up 31 Emmy nominations while Amazon had none. But this year Amazon took home five Emmys, besting Netflix's four. While the markets are not identical, this success is a blueprint for how fast Amazon's streaming content business can take off.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.