Amazon Music Wisely Taps Into Livestream Trend Via Twitch

Amazon Music Wisely Taps Into Livestream
Cheyne Gateley/VIP

Virtual events in the music world have been taking off amid the pandemic, and tech giants want in on the action.

Amazon yesterday announced that artists can sign up to have their Twitch streams delivered in Amazon Music, which has 55 million customers globally.

Meanwhile Spotify, which counts almost 300 million ad-supported users and paid subs globally, may be working on a feature that informs fans of artists’ upcoming virtual events, TechCrunch reported last week. 

Livestream music has been surging because COVID-19 has ravaged the live music industry. Since March, major music festivals including Coachella and EDC have been cancelled or “postponed” en masse, leading artists and live events companies to take a beating revenue wise. 

Live Nation, one of the world’s biggest live event producers, reported $142 million in concert revenue in Q2, down 95% year-over-year from $2.6 billion in Q2 2019

Meanwhile, the pot of global recorded music, music publishing and live music revenue may dip as much as 25% year-over-year in 2020, compared with a 6% growth rate in 2019, per Goldman Sachs. 

At least artists can recoup some of that revenue via digital performances, which Amazon and Spotify can boost with the new features. Both would enhance users’ in-app experiences, though neither seem like something that would steal users from competing music streaming services in meaningful ways.

Amazon has a unique opportunity to turn its feature into more of a user growth tool if it begins regularly paying big artists to livestream virtual shows exclusively for its music app. And that seems like something within Amazon’s reach to experiment with: The company has no shortage of cash, and over 1,000 artists have already connected their Amazon Music accounts to Twitch.

Either way, ramping up virtual concert lineups now is wise, with interest in streaming virtual events surging. Wave, which helps stage virtual concerts, raised $30 million in venture funding in June.

Some 44% of U.S. respondents in July said they were likely to stream a virtual concert in the next two weeks, a figure that has risen steadily from 37% in March, according to Nielsen/MRC data. 

And while that percentage could continue to climb, it may be wise for music streamers to try and capitalize on virtual event streaming sooner rather than later, as some consumers are likely to become less strict on self-quarantining (and engage in COVID-era activities such as virtual events less often) while the pandemic rages on.