Amazon is the next tech company to join the live audio clubhouse
There are dozens of music streaming services available worldwide, some of which cater to specific genres while others offer a broad catalog of songs. To compete with the likes of Spotify, YouTube, and Apple, it’s not enough for a service to only offer music, though. The biggest players in the industry have branched off into podcasts, offered either with their music streaming service or separately through another app. More recently, these tech companies have also started to follow in the footsteps of Clubhouse, the social audio app that popularized live audio chatrooms. Now, Amazon is the latest name to throw its hat in the ring, as the company is reportedly investing heavily in a new live audio feature. However, it seems that Amazon hasn’t yet set its sights on directly competing with Clubhouse and its many clones, at least initially.
Sources speaking to Axios have told the publication that Amazon’s Music division is paying podcast networks, musicians, and celebrities to use the service for “live conversations, shows and events.” The goal, at least initially, is to host live concerts or performances in Amazon Music, and the company is allegedly negotiating with major record labels to host live audio events with artists. Eventually, the feature may be expanded to live radio or podcast programs. Separately, the company is said to be planning to integrate live audio features into Twitch, the live streaming platform that Amazon acquired in 2014.
It’s no surprise to see Amazon jump on the live audio bandwagon. Clubhouse exploded in popularity last year during the COVID-19 lockdowns, and its growth hasn’t gone unnoticed by Silicon Valley. Several social media companies including Twitter, Facebook, Discord, and Reddit have released their own live audio features, while some music streaming companies like Spotify have also started to follow the trend.
Amazon Music, despite its popularity, isn’t known for leading the industry, though it has the cash to stay up to date with the latest trends in the space. Its acquisition of the Wondery podcast network late last year signaled its intention to compete with Spotify in podcasts, which itself put down some serious cash to enter the field by signing on major creators like Joe Rogan. When Apple opened up lossless audio streaming, Amazon dropped its separate HD tier in response.
Amazon may have a huge head start when it comes to launching this live audio service, as it can offer this service to its massive Prime userbase at little to no extra cost. We don’t have any details on whether or not Amazon will bake this service into Amazon Music or if it’ll charge users extra to access it, though, and the company declined a request for comment when reached by Axios.
Featured image: A screenshot of the Amazon Prime Music homepage