While it remains to be seen how effective it will be, the recent partnership that lets Amazon customers put items in their cart via Twitter (TWTR) provides hope that there's a modicum of thought at Amazon beyond kicking retail's losers while they're down and following pop technology trends. If there's any place where Amazon can continue to tunnel this trajectory to more innovative ground it's by using streaming radio for some other ends than to play music, pay royalties and add (perceived) value to Amazon Prime.
I provided some color earlier this year on how this might look in Amazon Music Could Be Songza:
Songza aims to provide the perfect advertisement and, quite possibly, the ideal e-commerce opportunity for what you're doing, thinking, feeling.
The idea is that music acts as the soundtrack for people's lives -- from big think, all-encompassing and day-to-day activity standpoints. That's at least how it was explained to me last year when I did some digging and talked to people about Songza's plans.
It's not there yet, but that's the thought process behind the ongoing evolution. And what better way to get there than having Amazon put the full power of its beast behind you.
Plus, if the aforementioned model isn't right up Amazon's alley, I'm not sure what is.
The looks less and less like that'll actually happen, the more and more I think about it and wonder why.
If you're Amazon and you're going to get into some flavor of music-driven streaming media, it seems to me you risk underwhelming both Wall Street and consumers with some tired iteration of Google (GOOG) Play on the on-demand side or Pandora (P) or Apple's iTunes Radio on the radio side. How much value is that really going to add to Prime? I can't imagine droves of people dumping whatever they're using now to use whatever Amazon puts out. However some will use Amazon's offering along with what they're already using -- especially if they're already Prime members -- and even more bodies will at least check it out if there's a distinctive wrinkle.
This is probably the most boring video I'll ever embed in an article, but it's apropos to the conversation. In it the president of the Songwriter's Guild testifies before Congress in favor of better compensation for songwriters. I'm on board with him, but it's the music sells everything message he delivers at the beginning of this clip you need to pay attention to with respect to Amazon. It's only a few seconds long:
Whether it's via Songza, doing something Songza-like (another knockoff!) or something all together different, it would be nice to see Amazon find some sort of e-commerce tie-in for its forthcoming streaming radio service. Something nobody has done yet. Something that creatively and respectfully marries the association between music as everything from a soundtrack to the background in our lives with our penchant to buy stuff online. Our tendency to make impulse purchases while surfing Amazon and listening to music. Some type of thoughtful integration of the Amazon e-commerce platform with its streaming radio interface.
If anybody can pull this off, it might be Amazon. And it would make a much larger and more meaningful splash than the introduction of another Pandora killer that has zero chance of killing Pandora. Plus it might provide a different path for every type of Amazon customer (prospective, light, emerging, heavy Prime user, etc.) to buy stuff from the top dominator that doubles as an imitator in retail/technology.
--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.