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The new phase of music streaming to come on the back of voice: Sahas Malhotra of Amazon Prime Music

The number of Prime Music listeners adopting voice to listen to music is growing day by day - over 3.5 times.

twitter-logo Nidhi Singal        Last Updated: January 30, 2019  | 22:09 IST
The new phase of music streaming to come on the back of voice: Sahas Malhotra of Amazon Prime Music
Sahas Malhotra, Director - Amazon Prime Music

Introduced in February last year in India, Amazon's Prime Music was launched as an actual music streaming service that continues to be a part of Prime membership at no additional cost. While it offers access to a global catalogue of millions of songs, including international catalogues of Sony, Warner, Universal to major Indian catalogues from T-series, Venus, tips, down to all the regional catalogues across Punjabi Tamil, Telugu, and more languages, the company is focusing on innovating and improvising voice features for a better music streaming experience.

Claiming to be a truly localised product, Amazon has, for the first time, introduced a language picker in Prime Music. Sahas Malhotra, Director, Amazon Prime Music, explains, "The reason being, India was the first country where the customer research showed that consumers listen to music in two to three multiple languages, some even in four to five different languages. When you have this huge catalogue of songs and the customer is not able to access their favourite songs, the other one million does not matter."

Voice assistants are becoming popular and Amazon has been one of the leaders in smart speakers race and is now extending Alexa, the brain behind the voice search to many new products and platforms. Even the Prime Music had voice search functionality (Alexa) built-in from the day one when it was launched in the country.

Malhotra adds, "Music streaming has seen a significant explosion on the back of smartphones. We are entering a new phase in music streaming and that new phase is going to come on the back of voice. It is not just that voice is a new and cool thing to do but the impact of voice is a lot more profound. Simply put, it removes barriers and makes it much easier to access favourite music."

Amazon has been seeing this in some of the other markets where the power and simplicity that natural language voice control springs into a music app just leads to far more immersive and far more engaged user behaviour. And customers listen to a lot more music if they're able to get to the music quicker.

While the company refused to share the active Prime Music subscriber base, it did mention that in the last five months, the user base has doubled in India. The number of Prime Music listeners adopting voice to listen to music is growing day by day - over 3.5 times. Another insight shared by the company is that listeners who use Alexa for interacting with the app, end up using it for a longer duration - there have been an over five times jump in their listening hours vis a vis non-voice listeners. And Amazon aims to continue to improvise this experience.

"Be it India, US or Japan, our goal remains the same. We're constantly chipping away at trying to figure out what are those hurdles or obstacles that come in the way of our consumers getting to their favourite music, discovering new music because that's another very important dimension to listen to music or rediscovering music that the consumer has heard in the past," avers Malhotra.

Recently, Amazon introduced Hands Free experience to the Prime Music application where instead of tapping the Alexa button to communicate, calling out Alexa will do the job. When the Amazon Prime Music app is open and in the foreground on any iOS and Android smartphones, customers can simply ask Alexa to play, pause, repeat, move back and forth between songs and much more. Voice commands can also be used to create a playlist and add new songs to the same. Users need not ask Alexa to play a particular song but can make random requests such as 'Play 80's sad songs' or play 'Kishore Kumar happy songs' or 'play Karnataka classical music' and more. Alexa can even process requests such a 'play recently played music', 'Play Arijit Singh song I listed last month', 'Play Songs similar to 'Shape of you' and more.

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