After launching a payola-free presentation and promotion tool last year, Amazon Music has officially launched Spotlight, which allows artists to equip their profiles with personalized voice messages.
Amazon Music for Artists contacted DMN with details about Spotlight today. The new feature allows artists with at least 3,000 fans on the platform to set the aforementioned personalized voicemails to “any song, album, playlist or station,” the superiors explained.
Fans in the United States — Amazon Music hopes to “soon expand accessibility to listeners in other territories” — can play Spotlight recordings by navigating to the top of artist profiles on the streaming service’s app. Notably, with platforms such as Amazon Music, Apple Music and Spotify looking to separate themselves from the competition, users also have the ability to access Spotlight Messages via voice commands on Echo devices.
Artists are currently limited to one recording at a time – although this message “may be updated as often as you wish”. Amazon Music doesn’t back up previous recordings, and executives hope to expand Spotlight “to more artists soon.”
Particularly due to Spotlight’s support for Alexa, it will be worth tracking the rate of adoption of the feature in the future. Between tour announcements, release information, and behind-the-scenes details of the creative process, the tool appears to have several potential benefits for artists.
And on the listener side, it stands to reason that those who regularly ask Alexa to play music from certain creators might quickly get used to receiving updates through Spotlight. (Amazon Music for Artists clarified that fans can listen to Spotlight messages on Echo products by saying, “Alexa, play the [Artist Name] Spotlight on Amazon Music. “)
Along with the initially noted showcase and promotion tool, Amazon Music unveiled an artist merchandise store in 2021, featuring exclusive items from multiple creators. Needless to say, artists could incorporate some of these exclusive elements into their Spotlight posts – possibly as part of larger deals with Amazon.
The e-commerce giant is also capitalizing on the reach of Prime Video to stand out in the crowded music streaming arena.
Over the weekend, the Amazon-owned video streaming service released a “fully immersive musical special” based on The Weeknd’s Dawn FM — while simultaneously rolling out an exclusive Amazon Music EP as well as an “exclusive merch capsule” for the special.
Of course, competing streaming platforms don’t have access to Amazon’s massive shipping infrastructure and massive processing capabilities. But as pointed out, they also strive to diversify their offerings and appeal to both users and artists.
It’s no secret that Spotify lost billions on podcasts (and ‘bookcasts’) – reportedly achieving faster speech growth than Apple Music in the process. Apple, for its part, bought a startup called AI Music last month and is preparing to launch a “dedicated classical music app” later this year.
Finally, SoundCloud has embraced fan-powered royalties — and its prominence among emerging artists — as has Tidal, following a $297 million sale at Jack Dorsey’s Square about a year ago.