Amazon is Building a Social Audio Platform for Performances: Report
Amazon could soon release a social audio service, according to a report from Axios. The live audio platform may be similar to Clubhouse or Twitter Spaces or end up more like a performance space like Spotify’s new Greenroom app.
The report’s sources say the new feature is being headed up by Amazon Music, the same division running the podcast, music, and other audio content space for the tech giant. The setup described by Axios is an audio venue for performances and concerts accessible through a user’s Amazon Music account. Amazon is supposedly already discussing plans with artists and music labels. Along with the concerts, Amazon may set up talk shows and podcasts for the same live network. That would fit with some of the moves Amazon has made of late to shore up and expand its audio content library and offerings, including purchasing podcast service Wondery for $300 million in 2020.
More recently, Amazon Music began experimenting with its new DJ Mode, which upgrades some streaming stations with additional content, including Alexa-provided trivia and commentary from experts and artists. DJ Mode started with a Billie Eilish station and recently adding one hosted by Lizzo. Last year, Amazon added free podcast feeds, bringing native support for podcasts to Amazon devices. More recently, the service started livestreaming from Twitch and selling merchandise directly from its app.
The idea of a live audio center for Amazon fits with the larger trend in social audio. More companies are creating or extending existing platforms in this vein. Spotify’s social audio platform Greenroom, formerly known as Locker Room, is a major example, as is Discord’s new Stage Channels, which are showcasing a variety of celebrity shows and events. Clubhouse has not been slacking on exploring this aspect of social audio in new partnerships with TED Talks and the NHL, among others, as well as homegrown shows produced through the expanding Creator First programs. These events are also supported by new features like spatial audio and Backchannel texting. The direct messaging service enables users to text with each other while on the app, either one-to-one or in a group chat, without interrupting the audio discussion or requiring a different communications tool. Clubhouse has been hitting new records for installations, but Amazon’s sheer size could make for a daunting challenge for competitors like Twitter Spaces or Facebook’s Live Audio Rooms, let alone smaller startups.