Here’s another sign that Amazon is getting ready to double down on music streaming: The company has hired former Apple and EMI Music executive Alex Luke as Global Head of Programming & Content Strategy for its Amazon Music service.
Luke is joining Amazon from The Valley Fund, a Silicon Valley VC shop. Before that, he worked for two years as EVP of A&R at EMI. The major had poached him in 2011 from Apple, where he had been working as Director of Music Programming & Label Relations for eight years. Previous stints also included jobs at radio stations, and some work at music streaming service Napster.
Amazon launched it own paid streaming service to take on Apple Music and Spotify last October. Before that, Amazon was offering Prime subscribers a limited music streaming experience as part of their yearly membership fee. The company has also for some time offered paid MP3 downloads, and has long been one of the largest music retailers in the world, thanks to its CD business.
Amazon’s secret weapon in the music streaming wars has been its Echo smart speaker, which has been selling like hotcakes.The company hasn’t released any official sales numbers for the device, but market researchers estimated that it had sold 5 million by last November.
The Echo is closely integrated with Amazon Music, allowing consumers to request songs and playlists with simple voice commands. Amazon is also using the device as an upsell, offering consumers to access a Echo-only tier of its streaming service for $4 a month.