In a predictable but necessary juxtaposition, Country Radio Seminar (CRS) welcomed Amazon Music’s Director, Ryan Redington, to speak to radio executives about how his digital service employs in-house curators and deliveries personal DJ experiences.
CRS’ Executive Director, Bill Mayne explained the prudent decision to bring CRS attendees up close with streaming music, assuring Garth Brooks’ appearance the previous day (Feb. 23) was “not a package deal” with Redington’s featured speaker slot—”completely coincidental.”
After exhaustively discussing pricing tiers, Redington explained Amazon Music’s relationship with country music.
“What was fascinating for us, and why I think Bill reached out to us, is engagement for country on [Amazon Music] has been incredibly strong,” said Redington. “We have a few ideas why. We still have physical music and we’ve built a very welcoming [streaming] product for those particular customers.”
Redington went on to note Amazon’s country station is the No. 1 station across their entire service. He compared Amazon Music statistics to un-cited “industry standards,” which he said showed different customers have chosen different services and Amazon works well with county music fans.
“We wanted to capitalize on those strengths, and when we looked at the landscape, there was one artist that had yet to move into the streaming space and just so happened to be the No. 1 selling solo artist of all time: Garth Brooks,” said Redington of his 2016 deal with Brooks.
The 45-minute program continued, mostly promoting its Echo. Valuable was information about Amazon’s Side-by-Side feature—built for a new album release. The exclusive promotion pairs audio commentary from artists with selected tracks to offer behind-the-scenes, insider info directly from the artist.
Redington concluded with Amazon’s outlook for the future of music consumption for the home and car.
“As we look forward, we [want to] bring streaming into the home,” said Redington. “You really don’t understand the friction a product creates when you have to walk in a house and want to listen to an on-demand streaming service: you have to unlock your phone, log in, choose Bluetooth/plug into receiver, find playlist/song and play. If we put an Echo in your kitchen and you get home from work and say, ‘Alexa, play music,’ the amount of music we see them listen to grows exponentially. The lack of friction is similar to jumping into a car and turning on the radio.
“We believe the next wave of on-demand/purchased music, streaming business, is going to be through the home and your voice being the vehicle that drives that next big phase.
“Interesting for people in the room is, what happens with voice in the car? As you think about radio with respect to your businesses and voice that impacts your future, and how you think about technology can fundamentally change how you think about music and build your catalog. It’s not just going to affect Amazon, but it will affect different industries over time, if voice does what we believe it’s going to do.
“The big takeaway from today is: as technology evolves, you have to rethink about what you’re going to do to meet the customer demands.”
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About the AuthorEric T. Parker oversees marketing initiatives and contributes editorial for MusicRow's print magazine, MusicRow.com, the RowFax tip sheet and the MusicRow CountryBreakout chart. He also facilitates annual events for the enterprise, including MusicRow Awards, CountryBreakout Awards and the Rising Women on the Row. [email protected] @EricTParker
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