Amazon has launched a new music streaming service in the UK that can be controlled by voice.

Called Amazon Music Unlimited, the service contains 40 million songs as well as thousands of playlists that can be summoned by asking for them via the firm’s Amazon Echo smart home device.

[Read more: Amazon Echo vs Amazon Echo Dot: Which smart speaker is right for you?]

Echo and the Alexa software that powers it launched in the UK last month as a way of controlling smart home appliances, but users will now be able to find and play more music on voice command, as well as find songs by quoting lyrics or asking for a favourite artist’s “most recent” single.

For example, users will be able to say “Alexa, play Clean Bandit’s new song”, and Echo will start playing Rockabye. Amazon has also used an algorithm to align every song in the Music Unlimited library to a mood, so users can ask for happy, sad and melancholy and hear a suitable track.

The new service, which will also work on smartphones and tablets, is designed to challenge established music streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music, will cost £7.99 a month for those who are members of Amazon’s Prime scheme.

Music Unlimited
(Amazon)

 

[Read more: Downloading music vs streaming music: Which is best for you?]

For non-Prime customers the service will cost £9.99 – the same as Spotify and other services.

Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos said voice-controlled music could be the future of streaming.

“Amazon Music Unlimited brings real value to the millions of people in the UK who are already Prime members, with a choice of subscribing for only £7.99 a month or even £79 per year,” he said.

“And if you want a sense of the future of voice-controlled music, go ahead and ask Alexa for a free Amazon Music Unlimited trial, and play around on your Echo.

Amazon Echo
(David Parry/PA)

 

“If you don’t know the name of a song but know a few lyrics, if you want to hear songs from a specific decade, or even if you’re looking for music to match your mood, just ask. Our US customers love Amazon Music Unlimited on Echo, and we think our UK customers will too.”

The e-commerce firm said users will be able to ask their Echo smart hub for music by mood, decade of launch, lyrics or most recent release.

Prime Music
(Amazon)

 

Amazon confirmed its Prime Music service would also continue to operate and come as part of a Prime membership, though it is a significantly smaller service, with a library of around two million songs.

The technology giant has also updated its mobile app to users, as well as offering a “For Echo” subscription for £3.99 a month which enables use of Music Unlimited on a single Echo or smaller Echo Dot device.