Amazon’s New Amp App Spins a Social Audio/Radio DJ Mash-Up
Amazon has introduced a new mobile app called Amp that lets users produce their own live audio shows of music and conversation. Amp hosts are halfway between a radio DJ and a host for Clubhouse or another social audio app. They can play songs pulled from a library of millions of licensed tracks and take live ‘callers’ for a chat in between the tunes.
The social audio aspect draws immediate comparison to Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces, Spotify’s Greenroom app, and newer platforms like Mark Cuban’s investment, Fireside. Amp’s music-centric approach is different from those talkier platforms, however. The connected music catalog of millions of songs allows for hosts to design show soundtracks tied together by unique themes or just the DJ’s whim. The app is free to use and includes tools to find shows and hosts that might interest the user. Once they start listening, they can request to speak, and the DJ can decide who can join the broadcast and when to cut them off. While the app doesn’t have a voice assistant component yet, Alexa integration is on the list for additional features to add before or during Amp’s wider release.
“Radio has always been about music and culture. But imagine if you were inventing the medium for the first time today,” Amp vice president John Ciancutti said. “You’d combine what people love about radio—spontaneous talk, new music discovery, diverse personalities, and broad programming—with all that’s made possible by today’s technology. You’d make it so anybody with a phone, a voice, and a love for music could make their own show. And that’s exactly what we’re doing. Amp makes it possible for you to grab the mic and run the airwaves. We are creating a new version of radio that will have an infinite dial of shows.”
Social Audio Amazon
Amazon’s interest in social audio cropped up last year. The rumors described an Amazon Music-supported virtual audio performance venue for concerts and shows. That’s the next stage for Amp, which also announced a collection of Amp shows hosted by musical artists, critics, and radio personalities. Nicki Minaj will host her “Queen Radio” show on Amp alongside shows hosted by Big Boi, Lindsey Sterling, Blink-182’s Travis Barker, and a dozen others just to start. The celebrity angle also builds on the brand new Amazon Music Spotlight feature, which lets artists record messages to fans on specific musical selections included in playlists or by asking Alexa. It’s closer to a democratized form of Amazon Music’s DJ Mode, augmenting musical selections with artist commentary and Alexa trivia. Amp is only available as a limited beta in the U.S., though the app’s Twitter account does suggest using “Twitter” as a code to gain access.
“By bringing these incredible personalities into the beta, creators can experience Amp in a way that drives the feedback needed to build the app together, ahead of a public launch later this year,” Ciancutti said. “Artists have really responded to what they can do with Amp. They want to run shows, play new music, and share the songs that have influenced them—they’ve also talked about using Amp as a way to get their fans to start creating, too.”