Amazon’s foray into live radio is coming to an end – little more than a year and a half after it began.
The online retail giant confirmed to media that it’s shutting down Amp, the app it launched in 2022 that enables users to easily create live radio shows that listeners can call into.
“We’ve made the difficult decision to close Amp,” Amazon said in a statement sent to media.
“In creating Amp, we tried something that had never been done before and built a product that gave creators a place where they could build genuine connections with each other, and share a common love for music. We learned a lot about how live music communities interact in the process, which we are bringing to bear as we build new fan experiences at scale in Amazon Music.”
Amazon launched Amp at a time when the tech and media industries were scrambling to replicate the success of Clubhouse, the live audio platform that experienced a heyday during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The new media space saw a mushrooming of new live-audio platforms in recent years, such as Twitter Spaces, Facebook’s Live Audio Rooms and Spotify’s Greenroom/Spotify Live. But Amazon’s offering distinguished itself by focusing not on talk but on music, offering creators a library of tens of millions of music tracks licensed from Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and numerous indie music companies such as Beggars Group, Believe, CD Baby and PIAS.
However, demand for live audio has cooled since pandemic restrictions were removed, and some live-audio offerings have been struggling. As one example of the turning tide, Spotify shut down its live audio service Spotify Live this past spring,
The Stockholm-based music streaming service bought Betty Labs, and its app Locker Room, for a reported EUR €57 million in March of 2021. Locker Room primarily hosted live audio shows focused on sports.
Spotify quickly rebranded the app as Greenroom, eventually rebranding it as Spotify Live. It expanded the content to include weekly music, lifestyle and entertainment shows. Shows included Lorem Life with Dev Lemons and Max Motley, Deux Me After Dark with Deuxmoi and Internet People Live with Zack Fox.
But in April of this year, Spotify resigned from the effort, announcing that “after a period of experimentation and learnings around how Spotify users interact with live audio, we’ve made the decision to sunset the Spotify Live app.
“We believe there is a future for live fan-creator interactions in the Spotify ecosystem; however, based on our learnings, it no longer makes sense as a standalone app.”
According to a report at Insider, problems had been brewing inside Amazon’s Amp for some time. The platform has missed internal goals, and the Amp team lost about half its members in Amazon’s layoffs this year and last, which saw a total of 27,000 jobs eliminated across the company.
“Amp has become another Amazon company that is toxic. This work culture is espousing leadership that provides no direction,” Insider quoted an employee as saying in feedback to leadership.
Amp launched in beta in March 2022 with the promise of “building a home where anyone can create live shows alongside some of the biggest names in the industry.”
“In creating Amp, we tried something that had never been done before and built a product that gave creators a place where they could build genuine connections with each other, and share a common love for music.”
The company announced a slate of upcoming shows from “some of the biggest names in music” including Nicki Minaj’s Queen Radio, as well as shows from Pusha T, Tinashe, Travis Barker, Lil Yachty and Big Boi, among others.
“Radio has always been about music and culture,” Amp Vice President John Ciancutti said at the time. “But imagine if you were inventing the medium for the first time today…. You’d make it so anybody with a phone, a voice, and a love for music could make their own show. And that’s exactly what we’re doing…. We are creating a new version of radio that will have an infinite dial of shows.”
Amazon still remains in the audio space, with its Amazon Music streaming service, the Audible Audiobooks service, and the Wondery podcast platform, which the company acquired in 2020.Music Business Worldwide