In an effort to bolster its Prime Music streaming service, Amazon today announced “Amazon Acoustics,” a new collection of exclusive covers and originals from a variety of rock, country, and pop artists.
Particularly intriguing covers include Michelle Branch taking on Radiohead’s Creep, Surfer Blood reimagining Outkast’s Hey Ya!, and Joshua Radin recording Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors. Also among the collection of 32 tracks are new songs from Deer Tick, Ron Sexsmith, and Marc Roberge (of O.A.R.).
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“We are always looking for unique ways to make Prime Music the best destination for our listeners — offering original, exclusive recordings is one way we’re raising the bar on the music listening experience,” said Steve Amazon VP Steve Boom in a statement. “Working directly with a mix of great artists to create Amazon Acoustics was a really special experience; we can’t wait for customers and Prime members to listen to these amazing recordings.”
The exclusive offering comes at a time when streaming music services are increasingly trying new strategies to differentiate from the competition. Apple Music has its 24-hour online radio station Beats 1 and its social media feature, Apple Connect; Spotify recently launched a personalized playlist called ‘Discover Weekly,’ and is delving into short-form video; and the celebrity-backed TIDAL is banking on big-name exclusives.
While Amazon Prime Music certainly doesn’t have the same clout as Apple Music or Spotify, it does have the flexibility to dabble. Prime Music is just one aspect of Amazon Prime’s subscription service, which has amassed 40 million subscribers and also features free two-day shipping, Prime Instant Video, and a Kindle sharing library. The service is currently focusing its efforts on the streaming video platform, with exclusives including the Emmy-nominated Transparent and a newly-inked deal for a new show from the hosts of Top Gear.
Still, considering Amazon previously released another exclusive — a Christmas album featuring Liz Phair, Yoko Ono and The Flaming Lips last November (not to mention the soundtrack for Transparent) — we won’t be surprised if Amazon continues to bulk up its music offerings going forward.
Amazon Acoustics is now available on Prime Music, and is also available to all Amazon customers for a limited time. For Prime members, the collection is available through the Amazon Music app available for iOS, Android, Fire devices, Amazon Echo, and the web.