The news: Amazon introduced Amp on Tuesday, a new mobile app that allows users to create live radio-style programs in which they can serve as a DJ by accepting calls and playing tracks from an extensive catalog of licensed songs.
Here’s how it works: Amp users can DJ, stream, and chat about their favorite songs and artists. They may also talk about anything else—such as politics or sports—while creating playlists for listeners and taking live calls. Creators will also be able to pre-plan and schedule their programs and keep listeners informed about upcoming programming.
Joining the club: The app Clubhouse pioneered a new format for live audio social interactions, and the concept has been adopted by a slew of rivals, each with their own spin, including Twitter's Spaces, Facebook's Live Audio Rooms, Spotify's Greenroom, and smaller upstarts such as Fireside and Callin.
Looking to stand out: The streaming audio market (Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music) is a commodity service at its core because there's little inherent catalog differentiation, which explains why players are trying to distinguish themselves to make their platform stickier. See: Spotify's exclusive podcast strategy, Amazon buying Wondery, etc.
Analyst insight: “Streaming audio is a key part of Amazon’s upper-funnel ads strategy,” says Andrew Lipsman, our principal analyst. “It wants to have a position in every important ad medium and sees streaming audio as the ultimate replacement for radio, which also helps explain its emphasis on Alexa-enabled cars. Amazon is playing the long game here, and it understands that audio is a really big, but often overlooked, piece of the mix.”
Will it work? Amp has the potential to pull some creators from Clubhouse, YouTube, and Greenroom with the proper rollout. Undoubtedly, Amp is taking lessons from its cousin Twitch, Amazon’s live streaming service, on its growth strategy.
If Amp succeeds, it could be monetized via advertising in the near future. We expect US digital audio services ad spending of $6.21 billion this year, rising to $7.89 billion by 2025. Amazon isn’t shy about expanding its ad business.