What you need to know:
- Amazon has launched a beta of its new social app, Amp.
- Amp includes millions of licensed songs so users can act as radio hosts and DJs.
- Amazon has partnered with several music artists to host their own shows on Amp.
- The limited beta is available on iOS for now, with an Android version in the works.
Last year, Amazon was rumored to be working on a Clubhouse competitor focusing on music instead of just conversations. On Tuesday, the company finally launched the service, dubbed "Amp," albeit in a limited beta.
Amp allows users to become radio hosts of sorts with access to millions of licensed songs from Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group, as well as several independent music companies. Hosts will also be able to interact with listeners and even take callers, just like a real radio host.
While plenty of features are planned for the app, this limited beta allows users to pre-plan and schedule their shows. Eventually, Amazon plans to introduce Alexa integration and ways for users to easily discover new shows they might be interested in.
John Ciancutti, vice president of Amp, says the service was developed to help reimagine radio by making it more accessible. It gives creators an outlet to share the music they love without the hassle of needing a recording studio, fancy equipment, and negotiating licensing deals.
"Amp is bringing music culture and digital music together," explains Ciancutti. "A person with their own unique music taste doesn't have to land a job at a radio station to reach an audience. They just need to launch a show from their phone on Amp and reach anyone. Starting today, people will be able to see the creation of this new live audio experience being built in real time, right in front of their eyes."
Ciancutti highlights Amp's "comprehensive" community guidelines and notes that users have the power to report perceived violations from within a show or in the app. Amp has a 24/7 moderation team with an "open line of communication" that will handle reports for real-time action. This is particularly important given the recent controversy around Joe Rogan's Spotify podcast.
Amazon has partnered with several artists for the limited beta, from Nicki Minaj, who will bring her radio show "Queen Radio" to Amp, as well as Tinashe, Lindsey Sterling, Travis Barker, and more. For now, access is limited to iOS users in the U.S. (sound familiar?), but the company says a version for the best Android phones is on the way. We expect one may be available somewhere down the line, likely once the app graduates from beta.
You can sign up for the limited beta by downloading the app from the Apple App Store and joining the waitlist or by receiving a code from the Amp Twitter account.
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Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.