Amazon Launches Live-Radio App Amp, Featuring ‘Tens of Millions of Licensed Songs,’ and Strikes Deal With Nicki Minaj

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Photo Credit: Christian Wiediger

Amazon has officially launched a live-radio app called Amp, which allows users to choose from a library of “tens of millions of licensed songs” – and accept listeners’ calls – when hosting shows.

Amazon just recently released a beta version of Amp as well as a website for the platform, which is currently issuing sign-up codes in its social-media bios and elsewhere. “The only true equipment you need” to go live with a radio show, higher-ups explained, “is Amp on your iPhone.” (The company doesn’t “have a hard date” for an Android rollout, but this version of the app “is coming.”)

The process behind debuting programs seems straightforward, based upon the steps outlined on Amp’s website, and hosts can add any of the aforementioned songs (with “millions” more on the way) to shows for free. Several listening options – including country-focused Graham in the Mornings With Graham Bunn and Andrea Castillo’s Take a Trip – are already part of Amp, and it appears that high-profile artists will soon use the service to connect with fans.

To be sure, Nicki Minaj today confirmed plans to bring her Queen Radio program to Amp and discussed the subject with her followers on Instagram Live this afternoon. “I think April 8th I’m gonna do my first official show,” Minaj told fans, later elaborating that this show will be available solely to stateside listeners – with “entire” episodes going out as podcasts “worldwide” after broadcasts conclude.

On the DMCA and rules fronts, Amp’s fine print makes clear that the Amazon subsidiary will promptly “terminate an account holder’s access” if he or she happens to “accrue three copyright strikes” when playing music that’s not part of the pre-approved library.

Plus, Amp doesn’t enable hosts to “play more than 2 songs from the same album or more than 3 songs from the same artist in any 3-hour period,” “repeat a song more than 1 time in any 3-hour period,” or play any full song until at least one listener is tuned in.

Lastly, regarding the rules for hosting radio shows on Amp, programs “may not substantially consist of song requests from listeners.” Hosts, for their part, are unable to “publish or announce song titles or artist names in advance” of their shows or “announce a song is being played…until just before the song is played.”

Moving forward, it’ll be worth monitoring the reach and adoption rate of Amp, which arrives on the scene after all manner of companies entered the social-audio space in 2020 and 2021.

Few of these offerings revolve around licensed music and the traditional-radio format, though – with the noteworthy exception of Anghami’s “Live Radio.” The Middle Eastern streaming service made the program available to iOS and Android users last summer, indicating at the time that “artists, DJs, content creators and music influencers, will be able to talk alongside playing songs, playlists and podcasts” on Live Radio.

For Amazon specifically, the ecommerce giant has quietly established an artist merch store (Nicki Minaj is preparing to sell Queen Radio items), support for custom audio messages on Amazon Music artist profiles, and a payola-free promotional program for new releases, besides inking deals for exclusive performances and music films.