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In brief: Amazon’s Music division is reportedly working on a new live audio feature to bolster its content offerings on its smart speakers, and via its Alexa voice assistant. Sources familiar with the matter told Axios that Amazon is primarily focusing its efforts on live concerts and performances, but is also open to the possibility of airing talk radio programs and podcasts.
As Axios correctly highlights, live audio apps exploded in popularity during the pandemic. Clubhouse, one of the leading social audio apps for Android and iOS, revealed over the weekend that it is now averaging 700,000 live audio rooms daily – up from just 300,000 in May.
Spotify, meanwhile, scooped up live audio app developer Betty Labs for an undisclosed sum back in March. Betty Labs main product was an audio app called Locker Room that focused on sports conversations. It seems Spotify has since rolled that tech into a new product called Greenroom that’s focused on music, sports and culture.
Sources reiterated to Axios that Amazon is mainly focused on creating a digital live-streaming tool for performances and conversations, rather than a pure audio social network. But if Amazon decided it wanted to go after traditional radio, the opportunity certainly exists.
Nielsen said just as recently as 2019 that terrestrial radio reaches more Americans each week than any other form of media. That’s mainly because most radio listening happens in vehicles, but as we saw last year, such habits can shift drastically with little warning.
Illustration courtesy Annelise Capossela, Axios