While it will no doubt be a few more months before the hype surrounding Apple Music quiets to the point of being just another dull roar in the overcrowded conversation about music streaming, there is a new competitor on the block who may soon be making headlines around the globe.
Amazon is no stranger to digital music. The digital retail titan has had its own mp3 store and system in place for years, as well as an on-demand video service, but it has not yet launched any kind of music streaming service. The key word in that sentence appears to be ‘yet’ however, as a series of new reveals from the company have many wondering just how long it’ll be before Amazon tries to claim a piece of the increasingly competitive music streaming pie.
Last week, the Amazon Acoustics collection was released as an exclusive playlist for Amazon ‘Prime’ members. There are 30 recordings available from artists like Joshua Radin, Surfer Blood, and Tokyo Police Club that are available via the Amazon Music app on iOS and Android devices, Amazon’s connected Echo speaker, or online at the Prime Music website. The compilation is believed to be the first in a series of company owned releases that could make their way to the public in the months ahead, and it serves as the one of the first releases of its kind from any digital retailer. The closest competition I can come up with is Spotify’s Session program, and even that doesn’t offer the kind of exclusive content that can be found on this compilation.
Adding further fuel to the Amazon streaming music rumor mill, the company also recently released the Grammy-nominated Transparent soundtrack album as well as it’s own Christmas album featuring artists like Liz Phair, The Flaming Lips, and Yoko Ono. Again, these releases are believed to be a starting point for the company’s future music plans, but the company is keeping quiet for the time being regarding all future efforts.
What does all this mean? I’m not sure yet, but analysts around the industry seem to agree Amazon is doing a lot more in music than they have shared with the public so far. Maybe this means more releases, possibly with the inclusion of video content, but it could also mean the impending launch of yet another streaming music service. The market for such platforms is certainly growing crowded, but that doesn’t mean there is no room for Amazon to enter and make big waves.
Just to give you one example of how Amazon could change the streaming game, let’s look at the company’s ‘Prime’ membership program. Customers who purchase one of these memberships, which run around $100 a year, are given access to Prime’s large selection of free video content for streaming, as well as free 2-day shipping on essentially all purchases. If Amazon could also grant access to a music platform that has a catalog as equally large and diverse as Apple or Spotify that may be enough to lure consumers away from the competition. They wouldn’t be doing so for the love of music, of course, but streaming has never really been about the music. It’s about increasing the bottom line, both for creators and the people who make their music available.
We’ll continue to keep an eye on Amazon and let you know of any new developments that arise. In the meantime, comment below and let us know if you believe Amazon will enter the streaming game in the months or years to come.
James Shotwell is the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. He is also a professional entertainment critic, covering both film and music, as well as the co-founder of Antique Records. Feel free to tell him you love or hate the article above by connecting with him onTwitter. Bonus points if you introduce yourself by sharing your favorite Simpsons character.