The music business has lost billions of dollars over the past few years, but Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is bullish about its future.
One big reason: the wider use of voice-activated home devices, like Amazon’s Echo.
“At this point in the marriage of voice-activation technology with music, I can tell you it’s already working,” Bezos said in a new interview with Billboard.
“The next gigantic growth area for the music industry is the home.”
Bezos said voice-controlled devices like the Echo and its Alexa technology make the music-playing experience simple and “friction-free,” allowing more people to listen to music more frequently.
“If you make things easier, people do more of it,” he said.
To illustrate Bezos’ point, Amazon Music’s VP Steve Boom explained how voice-activated devices could shorten the time it typically takes to play music on personal devices from five minutes to just five seconds.
For example, in the past, if you wanted to listen to U2 from the ’80s, you had to manually search for U2 albums and then individually look for the albums released in the ’80s. That took a lot of time. Now, with voice-activated devices, you simply have to ask, “Hey, can you play me U2 songs from the ’80s?” and within seconds, it automatically curates songs for you.
“When you have nothing to look at, it’s liberating…and when you talk to Alexa, you ask for music in ways that would be difficult to do in a visual app,” Boom said.
Boom even claimed people are listening to “more music than ever” because of this, adding that it would lead to a renaissance period for the music industry.
“We’re at the cusp of what I would call the Golden Age of the music industry,” he said.
Although Bezos or Boom didn’t share any actual data on usage, they may have a point if devices like Echo end up becoming a more mainstream product. According to a recent survey, playing music was picked as the second most popular feature on the Echo.