Veronica With Four Eyes

Using Amazon Music With Vision Impairment

I spend several hours a day listening to music, usually on either my iPod or on another one of my internet connected devices. While I enjoy being able to buy songs and albums when possible to support my favorite artists, I also love having access to any song I can think of and on any of my devices with Amazon Music. Here is my review of the Amazon Music service and app from the perspective of a user with low vision and a strong appreciation for many different genres of music.

What is Amazon Music?

Amazon Music is a music streaming service that allows Amazon Prime users to listen to millions of songs on demand and ad-free. With the service, users can listen to an unlimited number of songs on their device and explore new artists and genres with ease. The Amazon Music app is free, though it requires an Amazon account. Download the Amazon Music app for iOS on the App Store here and for Android on Google Play here.

About my devices

I have used Amazon Music on the following devices:

  • 5th generation iPad running iOS 12.1
  • Pixel 2 phone running Android 9.0
  • Amazon Echo Dot 2nd Generation

Interface

The Amazon Music app has four different sections, with a search bar and additional options in the top right corner of each screen. Additional options include an offline music mode that disables the app’s internet connection, option to connect to another device, settings, help, and customer support contact. The sections of the app are as follows:

Browse

The homepage of the app features information organized in horizontal lists. The first segment is a slideshow of music curated by Amazon, followed by recently played, popular albums, popular songs (which is a vertical list), curated radio stations, recommended songs (which is a vertical list), recommended albums, popular playlists, popular radio stations, new music discovery, definitive hits playlists arranged by genre and decade, automatically generated playlists, and recommended radio stations for you.

Recents

Displays recently played artists and radio stations in a horizontal list as well as song history, recently added songs to the music library, and recently downloaded songs.

My Music

Shows a list of all music downloaded or saved to your Amazon account, sorted by playlist, artist, album, song list, or genre. To choose how music is sorted, swipe with one finger right or left.

Alexa

Allows for the Amazon Alexa voice assistant to find music or playlists- more on that in a minute.

Offline music mode

Users have the option to save songs and albums to their devices so that they can access their favorite music without an internet connection. To save a song or album:

  1. Click on the additional options icon, which resembles three dots, to the right of the song or album.
  2. Select “download” (which does not charge you money)
  3. Wait for the song to download
  4. Ta-da!

Once a song or album is downloaded, it can’t be transferred to another device, but it can be accessed from a device that isn’t connected to the internet or that is in offline music mode. I do this for a lot of my favorite albums that I want with me wherever I go.

Accessibility

Most of the Amazon Music app consists of album art and artist photos as well as small text, all of which can be magnified with the Zoom accessibility feature if needed. I had great success using the app with VoiceOver and was able to navigate across all of the different screens and options with ease- no issues with clicking on things unexpectedly, which is common in many list-intensive apps. Read more about using VoiceOver here.

Amazon Alexa

The Amazon Music app features the Amazon Alexa voice assistant that allows for users to choose music without touching or looking at the screen. Simply say “Alexa, play” followed by the song, artist, album, or genre you want to listen to. Some example queries include:

  • “Alexa, play Despacito”
  • “Alexa, play Starman by David Bowie”
  • “Alexa, play Bon Jovi”
  • “Alexa, play Beatles for Sale”
  • “Alexa, play 80s rock”

Pairing with Amazon Echo

The Amazon Music service pairs beautifully with the Amazon Echo device, since it allows for hands-free music control and great sound quality from the Echo speakers. If better sound quality is desired, users can also add an additional Bluetooth speaker to their Echo device, but I found that I didn’t need to do this since my Echo lives on my desk in my dorm room. Read more about my Amazon Echo here and how I listen to vintage radio for free with Alexa here.

A note on Amazon Music Unlimited

While the Amazon Music service is free for Amazon Prime Users, users also have the option to pay $7.99 a month or $79 per year (or $4.99 a month for college students) to access over 40 million different songs across all devices. I pay for this service because I listen to music very frequently and appreciate having access to as many songs as possible, especially lesser-known recordings from my favorite bands. Many people will find the free service to be enough, but devout music lovers may want to opt for the additional paid service. I recommend watching for specials to see if you can get it cheaper- these are most common around holidays or back-to-school.

What I’m listening to now

Here are some of my favorite playlists and radio stations on Amazon Music. None of these should be a surprise if you know me in real life!

Playlists

  • 100 Greatest 80s Songs
  • 100 Greatest 2000s Pop Songs
  • 100 Greatest Classic Rock Songs
  • Best of Queen
  • Classic Hits
  • Iconic 80s Party
  • Classical for Reading

Stations

  • All 80s
  • Classic rock
  • Oldies
  • Bon Jovi
  • The Beatles
  • David Bowie
  • Motown

Verdict

I love Amazon Music and how it integrates into all of my devices, as well as the fact I can control the app exclusively with my voice if needed, which is a tremendous benefit for users who may not be able to see the screen. I highly recommend trying Amazon Music and seeing if the service makes sense for your needs.

Using Amazon Music With Vision Impairment (1)



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