Demand for live audio services surged during the pandemic, and tech companies have raced to launch features to capitalize on the trend. Audio app Clubhouse last year spurred attention and investments from Silicon Valley. Twitter, Facebook, Spotify and Discord have all launched features around live conversations.
Amazon is already in the live content business through its livestreaming subsidiary Twitch and it has beefed up its podcast library through Audible. Amp could provide additional content for users to access through Echo smart speakers, and it could potentially give a boost to Amazon’s fast-growing advertising business.
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Amp allows users to launch their own live show, where callers can join and request to speak. Hosts can play music in real-time with their audience, as well as pre-plan and schedule their shows. DJs can choose from a library of millions of songs that are already licensed by Amazon.
Amazon said in a blog post that Amp attempts to “reimagine radio.”
“Amp infuses what listeners love about radio with what’s made possible by today’s technology,” John Ciancutti, vice president of Amp, said in the post. “People are looking for an evolution in how they discover and share music; Amp is reinventing how fans can go deeper into the experience of live audio, while giving the millions of people creating and sharing playlists today a new way to turn their love of music into live shows.”
Amazon has signed up popular artists including Nicki Minaj, Pusha T and Tinashe, as well as social media influencers and radio hosts, to create content for the app, the company said.
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The app is currently available for iPhone in beta, which requires an invite to join, but people can sign up to join a waiting list for access.