The Problem with Amazon Music (on PC)

Jan Martin Borgersen
November 22nd, 2014 · 2 min read

Im generally a big fan of Amazon. Lord knows we receive enough packages in the smiley boxes, and as they were the first to provide DRM-free MP3s, I long ago moved beyond iTunes as my personal ownership music library.

Ive actually long since moved beyond Amazon. Its been reported recently that the digital world is shifting us from ownership to access, and Spotify has become my music library of choice over the last few years. Its library meets 95% of my musical taste, and anything remaining I deal with Amazon, iTunes, or both.

But October and November bring me to my annual ritual of selecting the cream of the past years crop of music to be forever enshrined in a personal mix mp3. I buy the tracks I like the best from my Spotify playlists, and spend enough evenings geeking out in Audacity to be fully made fun of by my family. This is Fall, this is what I do.

This year Amazon is pushing their new Amazon Music app on PC/Mac, and since I generally like working with local tracks, I decided to give it a whirl.

What a f**king disaster.

I generally like CloudPlayer, and I generally like Amazons mobile apps. But this year Amazon started pushing Prime Music, and it changed everything. And I hate it. I really. Really. Hate it. And its starting to spill over into the mobile apps. Ugh.

Its really hard to be both subscription and point-of-sale, and Amazon has clearly not figured out which it would rather be upselling you on in its applications. The result is a bloated UI with too much up-sell space, and too many places to beare we in my cloud library? My downloaded library? Browsing the store? Browsing Prime Music? ITS TOO MUCH. I have similar issues with Prime Movies, but Ill tackle movies some other day.

I could forgive Amazon all this mess if they would do one thing in the PC app. This is the real problem with Amazon Music:


I want to edit a playlist, add tracks, maybe delete some, maybe change the order because sometimes I dont want to shuffle play them, and have this playlist available across all my devices. On some devices I want to download the files so that I can listen on a plane or in my car when I dont have a wifi signal, because I dont want to stream over mobile data.

One of those devices is my computer. I spend up to 16 hours of my day on my computer, far more than any of my mobile devices, and ooh: I have like two hundred times more hard drive space than my phone has, so OF COURSE I want to be able to sync local files but still be updating my cloud playlist.

As it stands today, Amazon Music on my Mac:

  • Creates a new playlist when I download from my cloud library
  • Will create another new playlist when I download again from my cloud library (lets say I changed something on my phone or in CloudPlayer). Now I have two copies of almost the same playlist.
  • Wont let me drag tracks to rearrange.
  • Doesnt have an option to keep this in sync with my cloud playlist.
  • If I click Add Tracks, it bumps my playlist to the right-hand column (now I can drag to rearrange).
  • Has this annoying bug where if I click the back button to return to my playlist, its now empty.

If Amazon wants to create a media ecosystem that plays well across multiple devices, it needs to start thinking of the computer in the same way it thinks about its mobile devices. I should be able to do more, and do it more easily, on my computer than on my phone, but the experience cant be broken.

Meanwhile, Im going back to Spotify.

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