Amazon Gets Serious About Music Streaming
Up until now Amazon has a been pretty non-committal about music streaming. They have a few tiers of subscription streaming and boast of “tens of millions” of subscribers, but music has mainly been an enhancement to their Prime bundle and not a legitimate stand-alone business. But don’t go to sleep on Seattle. According to Bloomberg’s latest report, Amazon is prepping for a full scale relaunch of its Amazon Music platform in several countries including the US, UK, and Germany.
Amazon will have two significant advantages in music streaming. First, they can leverage their own ecosystem. Those millions of Echo smartspeakers we’re all buying have Amazon Music set as the default, so users must either call for a specific streamer in their search (“Hey Alexa, play Elton John Radio on Pandora”), or go into their settings and reset the default. Amazon’s other asset is the voice-functionality used to play their music in the first place. Alexa’s AI makes it so easy to just call up a song, so they’re already ahead of other streamers with voice-enablement.
So what does the streaming marketplace look like with a fully engaged Amazon in it? They’ll be playing for subscriptions, so Spotify and Apple are the most exposed. At least Apple has their own ecosystem to drive new subs and very deep pockets, so they’ll hold their own. Spotify is probably the most vulnerable of the existing streamers, since they’re heavily reliant on subs, don’t have their own hardware delivery system, and are losing money by the boat load right now.
Fasten your seat belts for this one!