Amazon Music gets more radio-like with new ‘DJ Mode’


One of the prevailing trends in the music streaming world is that DSPs want to replace traditional radio, and a big part of their strategy to do that is becoming more radio-like themselves. The latest example is Amazon Music, which unveiled its new ‘DJ Mode’ yesterday.

The pitch is for an “on-demand listening experience that combines the personalisation, control, and breadth of catalog of streaming with the vibrancy and personality of DJ-hosted radio”.

It’s based around stations, initially Amazon’s ‘Rap Rotation’, ‘Country Heat’ and ‘All Hits’ stations, with the tracks personalised to each listener’s taste, with clips dropped in from DJ hosts and artists, as well as music facts and trivia from the Alexa voice assistant.

It sounds a lot like the vision set out in 2019 by startup Super Hi-Fi, with its AI-powered tools for turning personalised streams into radio-style stations. Amazon also sees DJ Mode as a promotional opportunity for artists, for whom it can launch stations using the format. Billie Eilish is the first to test it out, with her Billie Eilish Takeover station.

Amazon Music’s DJ Mode; Spotify’s mixed-media playlists of music and podcasts and its move into Clubhouse-style live talk; Apple Music’s expansion of Apple Radio including shows driven by flagship playlists… As we look forward to streaming’s development in the next decade, it seems clear that it will be less of a clean break from traditional radio broadcasting, and more an evolution of it.

This article was amended to clarify that DJ Mode is based around Amazon Music’s ‘stations’ feature rather than playlists.

Written by: Stuart Dredge