Beats of jazz music filled the room and Alexa was instructed to reveal the name of the song at a press event in Mumbai on Wednesday. “A String of Pearls by the Glen Miller orchestra,” Amazon’s intelligent personal assistant promptly replied, as the music continued in the background.
Amazon India launched its music streaming platform Amazon Prime Music on Wednesday, joining a crowded space shared by apps like Saavn, Apple Music and Google Play Music. The ad-free service is available exclusively to Amazon Prime members, at no additional cost, and platforms such as Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Echo. Amazon Prime is a paid service that gives subscribers speedy delivery options on the internet giant’s e-commerce portal as well as access to its video, and now, music streaming platforms.
The service promises millions of songs in more than 10 languages, including English, Hindi, Tamil, Marathi and Punjabi, which can be streamed online or downloaded for offline use. A key focus of the app will be its wide range options in regional languages. “Part of this journey was to break down India into micro markets and treat them with exactly the same detailing that you would do with Hindi or English,” Sahas Malhotra, Director of Amazon Music India, told Scroll.in. The streaming service can be voice controlled by Alexa, which the company claims will give users an intuitive experience.
“It is not at all about the number,” Malhotra said at the event. “What is important is can we serve you the music that you like to listen to. There are going to be additions to this constantly. If a customer for example tells us that he wants to listen to that rare recording of Kumar Gandharva from 1950s of raag Yaman Kalyan, he will go out and will get it.”
Apart from various genres, the service will also have a mood category, which playlists such as Happy Music, Workout Music and Travel Music. Its catalogue includes music from Indian and international labels including Sony, Warner, Universal, T-Series and Saregama. “The real challenge was to understand the customers and their pain points, when they are on their music streaming services,” Malhotra said.
Amazon Prime Music was launched in the United States of America in June 2014. The version that it brings to India is much improved, Malhotra assured.
“We spent a lot of time around the globe building up stations and playlists, taking the best of those and bringing them to India,” added Sean McMullan, the Director of International Expansion, Amazon Music, at the event. “We have moved from the first days of streaming with your mobile phones with ear buds in your ears, where the music is just you and your bubble, to now voice bringing music to home, becoming communal again.”