'It means we can reach more people': Amazon Music's Paul Firth talks free streaming via Alexa

'It means we can reach more people': Amazon Music's Paul Firth talks free streaming via Alexa

Amazon Music UK director Paul Firth has spoken about the ambitions to build its subscriber base through free access to streaming via Alexa.

Three months ago, Amazon Music joined YouTube Music in offering a limited free tier via voice control. The ad-supported service launched for US customers on Alexa-enabled devices who did not have a subscription or membership access to Prime Music. 

While the service has not yet launched in the UK, Firth suggested it was only a matter of time.

“You’ve seen a pattern in the past of where we’ve launched services in the US first – and it’s going really well in the US,” he told Music Week. “So we’re very happy with what we’ve seen there, and the reason to do that is just so we can build the funnel. We want to get more and more people listening to music, so we can introduce them to it in a better way – that [the free voice service] is not the endgame. To add a free tier to that in the US is just great, it means we can reach more and more people.”

Amazon Music and Alexa won in the new Consumer Innovation category at the Music Week Awards.

Firth stressed that the free tier for Alexa was designed to encourage users to subscribe to the full Amazon Music service, which is the model of streaming growth preferred by the music industry

“We want to get as many people listening to music in a way that makes them want more,” said Firth. “Once people start streaming, over time they will stream more and more and become more engaged.”

While it lags behind Spotify and Apple Music, there are reports that Amazon Music is now the fastest growing streaming service thanks to its voice devices.

“We know that what we do with Alexa is innovative,” said Firth. “If you are able to use technology like that to make it easier for people to find music, that’s brilliant. It’s allowing us to bring more and more people into music streaming, and that’s what we’re excited about.”

“There’s loads of great services out there doing really good stuff, and that’s good because it pushes us on even more. We’re really proud of what we’re doing with Alexa.”

Following its Prime Day promotion, including a streamed concert performance by Taylor Swift and more, the online giant will have many more members accessing its entry-level Prime Music service. Amazon reported that July 15 and 16 were its two biggest days ever for member sign-ups.

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