Spotify may have been the first big music streaming service to shift to an ‘audio-first’ strategy, but now everyone’s at it, working to Spotify’s template of starting this diversification with podcasts, before moving on to live audio.
Amazon Music is already well along the podcasts road, with a catalogue of third-party shows, a growing stable of originals and its own production-studio acquisition in the shape of Wondery. Now Axios reports that it is set to take the next step into live content.
“Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that’s similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify’s new live audio platform,” claimed the news site. “The effort, which is being led by Amazon’s Music division, includes paying podcast networks, musicians and celebrities to use the feature for live conversations, shows and events.”
It also suggested that live music will be the ‘focus’ for this new feature; that Amazon is already talking to major labels about artist events; and that it could add a live audio element to its sister service Twitch, despite that currently focusing on video. Amazon has not commented on the report.
Moving into live audio certainly seems like a good fit, not least because Amazon is one of the biggest sellers of devices that aim to replace traditional radios: smart speakers. In that sense, its move could be closer to what Apple Music and Sonos have done with their radio stations than to the social emphasis of Clubhouse.
If music really is to the fore of whatever Amazon launches, that’s exciting, even if there is a real prospect of fragmentation ahead for artists’ teams planning their campaigns: fitting live audio appearances around livestreams; recorded or live sessions for DSPs and radio stations; and – fingers crossed anyway – the return of proper tours.