Many of the great wars of the Internet giants in recent years have been over content. At the end of the day, the content led to the loyalty of users in different services and then those users became a gold mine. Beyond the direct payment they made for these services, they were established as a potential basis for other forms of monetization and, above all, for potential advertising.
Thus, first the giants went to war for series and movies. Hollywood studios have been bought ( Amazon did it to reinforce Prime Video ), billions of dollars have been invested in their own content (this is Netflix’s strategy, but also that of its competition) and new services have been opened although nobody expected it ( see Apple ).
The audiovisual content market is, in fact, already so crowded that new players have to fight tooth and nail. Then it was time for podcasts. After the series war, the majors launched into the podcast war , closing purchases and making large investments. Spotify, which already had weight in the streaming music market, ended up becoming a very strong rival.
The market players
And now all the greats seem to have thrown themselves into the battle for live audio. Clubhouse became a kind of absolute (and somewhat ephemeral) fashion a few months ago. Everyone was talking about the service for a few weeks and all the companies wanted to do something with it, before the fever stopped and the hype turned to something else.
Even so, that Clubhouse boom, however temporary, was a clear example of how a market was emerging, that of audio , that was going to go beyond podcasts. The pandemic accelerated the penetration of not only podcasts but also other services, such as audiobooks. Although they had eliminated the commute from their day-to-day work, in those first moments of the crisis, these contents did not decline, but grew and were integrated at other times of the day. When lockdowns were relaxed and when many returned to work, podcasts – and audiobooks – did not disappear from consumption patterns.
This created a favorable framework for developing more audio tools and live audio is the latest big emerging trend. In a way, one might wonder if this is nothing more than a closing of the circle. Live audio is, in the end, the radio of a lifetime, the same one that 100 years ago was becoming the fashionable medium. Live audio is not radio.
It is not because the content is not being generated by the stations, but it is not because the center of power is in other hands. Those who are promoting live audio are the network players, who use it as one more way to provide new services to their users. They are Clubhouse (which is still there, despite the end of the hype) or Spotify and Twitter, which launched new features that allow audio to be broadcast live.
And Amazon also came
It is demonstrating that this is a hot market and one about to grow much more is who is investing in it: Amazon is creating its own ecosystem live audio, as published Axios . Everything is being done, of course, secretly (nobody reveals their big bets until they are finished). As the US media has learned, Amazon is investing “heavily” in creating an audio option similar to the one already offered by players operating in this market. The work is led by the Amazon Music division, which is also already working on podcasts.
Amazon wants artists and record labels to use the tool to broadcast live concerts and artist encounters. According to Axios , although the main target is in the music industry, Amazon is also looking at podcasts and radio shows as potential sources of content. Live audio would also be integrated into Twitch, the trendy streaming platform owned by the giant.