‘Divinely discontent’ customers, perfect handstands, six-page narratives… There’s quite a lot to parse in Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ latest letter to shareholders: it’s an interesting insight into how he sees the culture at his company evolving.
But there’s also a big headline in the ‘recent milestones’ section of the letter, relating to Amazon’s Prime membership scheme.
“13 years post-launch, we have exceeded 100 million paid Prime members globally,” wrote Bezos – a new public stat for a metric that has previously been left to analysts to guess at.
The significance of this for the music industry is clear: that’s the theoretical base to which Amazon is marketing its bundled-in Amazon Prime Music service – at least to the subset of those members in countries where the streaming service is available – and ultimately trying to upsell to its premium music subscription too.
More stats, some of which aren’t new, from Bezos’ letter: “There are now more than 30,000 skills for Alexa from outside developers,” he wrote. “In the US, UK, and Germany, we’ve improved Alexa’s spoken language understanding by more than 25% over the last 12 months through enhancements in Alexa’s machine learning components and the use of semi-supervised learning techniques.”
Plus in 2017: “Customers bought tens of millions of Echo devices, and Echo Dot and Fire TV Stick with Alexa were the best-selling products across all of Amazon – across all categories and all manufacturers.”
And of course there’s the music service, although these figures are purposefully unspecific, and previously announced:
“Amazon Music continues to grow fast and now has tens of millions of paid customers. Amazon Music Unlimited, our on-demand, ad-free offering, expanded to more than 30 new countries in 2017, and membership has more than doubled over the past six months,” wrote Bezos.
It’s a long time since Amazon has been a dark horse of the music-streaming market: these stats emphasise its role as a strong third-place contender behind Spotify and Apple Music, while the 100m Prime-members figure shows the potential for even more growth ahead.