Since launching their Amazon Music for Artists backend in March 2020, Amazon Music has continued to add new features within the app, and the Spotlight feature or their Twitch integration are useful ways for artists to grow their career on the service. Their newest feature, called New Release Pitch Tool, finally lets artists and their teams pitch directly to Amazon Music’s curators – making it only the second global DSP to offer such a tool.
The last time we profiled Amazon Music for Artists, the app had just launched, and was ‘very much V1.0’, noted its creators. Then, it allowed access to artist streaming data on Amazon Music – including innovative insights into fans and superfans of the artist as well as analytics into voice requests.
Over time, the team added more functionality: custom artist profile photo and background image, the ability to connect an artist’s Twitch account with their Amazon Music profile, the Spotlight voice-messaging feature – now joined by the New Release Pitch tool. Sean McMullan, Director of Artist and Label Products & Services at Amazon Music for Artists, says: “I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve been able to deliver in such a short period of time and with the pace of our product development. We’ve been spending a ton of time talking with the industry, listening to their feedback, and coming up with ways Amazon Music for Artists can help grow their business and connect artists with their fans.”
Using the New Release Pitch tool
Amazon Music curates a host of different playlist brands and stations, and this new tool now enables any Amazon Music for Artist user to pitch for programming consideration – increasing their chances of reaching more listeners.
Interestingly, artists are able to pitch new music up to 14 days after release date, allowing for retrospective pitches. This differs a lot from Spotify for Artists, where teams are recommended to pitch at least 7 days in advance – and once the song is out, there is no opportunity to pitch inside the app. On Apple Music and Deezer, teams currently have no integrated direct pitching tool available.
The tool is accessible once your new music has been delivered to Amazon Music: appearing in ‘Profile & Tools’ in the Amazon Music for Artists app. Artists can only pitch one track per New Release. Multiple versions of the same song, re-releases and songs over 14 days old are not eligible to be pitched.
Fine-tuning your pitch
Pitches can be up to 1,000 characters in length (Spotify’s is only 500 characters so you have a bit more space here). When evaluating pitches, Amazon Music’s team of programmers say they look at a multitude of factors such as: how culturally relevant they perceive the artist or track to be, if there is anything newsworthy about the release, and if there is a buzz around the artist etc… and of course – whether they deem the song to be good.
This whole process is quite nuanced and based on both a gut instinct and the data available to the curators. We recommend that pitches should thus tell Amazon Music why new listeners will love this song – and how you plan to promote it to fans. Try to tell the story of your planned promo, how you’re planning to engage fans, and your overarching marketing strategy (social media, advertising, radio, tour, PR etc.). Show the team that you have a long-term plan and that it’s worth supporting the artist and music.
Once a pitch has been submitted, there is no way to make further changes so make sure all key information has been incorporated – including country-specific highlights or milestones, as all pitches are considered global. The New Release pitch tool will also ask for other information like genre (up to three), mood (up to three) and activity categorisation (up to three), whether your song has lyrics, etc. Share as much of this information as you can – it helps match your release to the right audience.
These details will also help Amazon Music determine where, when, and how to surface it to potential fans: in places like their activity feed, push notifications, Alexa alerts & prompts, genre-based browsing, and more.
Spotlight – exclusive voice messages from artists to fans
Amazon Music for Artists’ voice-related tool called ‘Spotlight’, announced in July and currently available in limited launch, means artists can create custom voice messages that can be played on any Alexa-enabled devices or in the Amazon Music mobile app – allowing them to speak directly to fans. A number of high-profile artists, like Kygo, Ghostface Killah, Jason Derulo, have already used it. “The feedback we’ve received from artists has been extremely positive,” McMullan said.“It’s still the early days for this feature; we’re testing it with a handful of partners and the customer-facing experience is currently only available to US-based fans.”
Amazon Music users can access these messages by asking Alexa to “play the [artist’s] Spotlight” and Amazon is also proactively recommending it to fans who ask Alexa to play the artist’s music.
We suggest that artists get creative with the use of Spotlights – for example promoting a song or album, providing insights into the artist’s creative process, highlighting a memory such as a release anniversary, promoting a collaborator – or highlighting the artist’s own musical discoveries. It’s a great tool to deepen the engagement with the listener, especially on non-visual devices like smart speakers.
A similar feature to Spotlight is currently only available within Pandora’s Artist Marketing Platform (Pandora AMP), so Amazon Music is really showing its ambitions to create a platform for artists with various tools to market themselves more effectively across Amazon Music.
McMullan thinks that these tools give artists more control over their communication, and allow cross-market opportunities: “Our vision for Amazon Music for Artists is to unlock opportunities that empower artists to succeed. And we believe we’re uniquely positioned to offer a holistic approach to marketing and accelerate an artist’s career – through fully integrated merch, live streaming, music videos, artist-hosted stations, podcasts, original content, and more.”
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