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Amazon joins music wars with new streaming service

Online giant Amazon entered the streaming music wars Wednesday, taking on rivals like Spotify and Apple with a subscription service that offers discounts to those using its voice-controlled speakers.

Amazon Music Unlimited will offer "tens of millions of songs" to subscribers, the company said, a step up from the two million available on its existing Amazon Prime streaming service.

The new service costs $9.99 a month for US customers - the same as rivals Spotify Premium, Apple Music and Google Play - but Amazon is offering a discounted rate of $3.99 for subscribers who limit use to its Echo, Dot or Tap speakers.

Current Prime customers can get the new service for $7.99 a month or $79 a year, Amazon said.

The new service is available to US customers, and will launch later this year in Britain, Germany and Austria.

Music streaming has boomed this year, with the number of streams more than doubling in the first six months of the year compared to the same period last year, according to trade specialists BuzzAngle Music.

In the US, streaming services had 18.3 million subscribers in June, up from 9.1 million at the same time last year, according to the Recording Industry Association of America,

Amazon's new US offering comes a month after Sweden's Spotify said it had passed 40 million paying subscribers.