Full Stream Ahead: Amazon Music VP of Marketing Tami Hurwitz


Amazon Music - A Voice Is All You Need

Featuring exclusive content, Amazon Music has offered a free 30-day trial for new customers to try Amazon Music Unlimited since launch nearly two years ago, and has run special promotions during events including the holidays and Prime Day. But nothing compares to its just-launched marketing effort to make Amazon Music a serious streaming contender with Spotify, Apple and Google.

On August 17 it launched its biggest marketing campaign to date, “A Voice is All You Need,” which highlights the powerful vocals of notable artists while demonstrating the simplicity of using Amazon’s voice platform with Alexa. The campaign features leading artists including Ariana Grande, Kendrick Lamar, SZA, Queen and Kane Brown.

The campaign creative celebrates the growth of Amazon Music and its lead in voice innovation while playing off powerful, isolated vocals from notable artists in a journey through the voice experience with Alexa on Amazon Music.

Launching at a time where the number of Amazon Music hours streamed globally on Alexa-enabled devices has doubled over the past six months compared to the same time last year, “A Voice is All You Need” is launching in select U.S. cities.

It will expand to the U.K. and Germany throughout the year across media channels including national online video, radio and out-of-home billboard advertisements (including an Ariana Grande billboard in New York’s Times Square that’s timed to her new album release). Select creative from the campaign will also appear on national TV later this year.

Tami Hurwitz - VP Global Marketing, Amazon MusicFor more on the platform and brand strategy, we spoke with Tami Hurwitz (right), Vice President of Global Marketing for Amazon Music.

Tami, how important is music to the present and future of making Amazon services (content and devices) the heart of the connected home? And how much has music contributed to the growth of Alexa voice-controlled services and Amazon overall?

At Amazon Music, we see voice as an opportunity to expand music consumption and discovery, and we’re bringing listening back into the home with the smart speaker and the communal way of listening it provides.

Music is one of the most popular requests on Alexa-enabled devices, and we’re seeing that ease of use bring more and more customers into music streaming. I can’t speak to the growth of devices specifically, but I can tell you that we will continue to see voice growing the music category to make it more accessible to more customers, which makes us optimistic for the industry.

Amazon has established an award-winning powerhouse of original video content and made Prime Video a force to be reckoned with in entertainment. Did that experience create a playbook for Amazon Music, or is it an entirely different value proposition?

Music and Video are completely different businesses, however at Amazon we are always focused on working backward from the customer and building a service based on what they want. Amazon Music has produced an incredible offering of exclusive content centered around voice with various artists including Elton John and U2. There’s so much room to grow, and we’re incredibly excited about the opportunities ahead of us.

Music is more portable and personal than video: you consume it while driving, walking, running, in elevators—in ways that you can’t do with video. How does that personal, emotional connection to music, where we design playlists and curate tracks to form the soundtrack to our lives, create an opportunity when it comes to driving voice-enabled control?

We believe that voice-forward listening on Amazon Music is a total game-changer and we’ve built a service that can cater to however our customers are feeling—from listening to a song by mood, genre or activity. Customers are now able to discover music for every moment, including the ability to request music for cooking, or for working out, or cleaning.

Amazon Music logoThey’re also able to create a playlist just by asking on the fly, to ask for a song by saying a few lyrics, or simply request music you heard a few weeks ago, instead of having to search through your listening history in a visual interface.

For example, we recently enabled hands-free listening on mobile devices where you can just ask for music via Alexa within the Amazon Music app. This is especially useful while riding in the car (I use it every day on my commute!) We’re always innovating and building new features to make music listening complement our customers and their daily routines easier than ever before.

How are you positioning and differentiating the two tiers of Amazon Music  and Amazon Music Unlimited?

Amazon Music has two tiers to choose from: Prime Music, offering Amazon Prime members ad-free access to more than two million songs and over one thousand hand-curated playlists and personalized stations at no additional cost to their membership, and Amazon Music Unlimited, our full catalog service with tens of millions of songs.

Both include access to the full range of voice commands powered by Alexa and are compatible with Alexa Cast, which allows listeners to play music and/or control music playback on their Alexa-enabled devices from the Amazon Music app on iOS or Android.

How are you launching the new campaign for Amazon Music?

We launched our largest ad campaign to date, “A Voice is All You Need,” with out-of-home billboards in select US cities, including a digital billboard in Times Square featuring Ariana Grande, the same day as her new album, Sweetener, became available. The Kendrick Lamar and SZA digital ad are now rolling out online, in addition to Ariana Grande and more artists including Queen and rising country star, Kane Brown.

Throughout the year, we will expand the campaign in the US, UK and Germany with additional artists in support of new releases across media channels including national online video, radio, and out-of-home billboard advertisements. Select creative from the campaign will also appear on national TV later this year.

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