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It will take more than a creator fund for Amazon’s live audio push to work

The news: Amazon is continuing its live audio push, this time by courting creators. The company’s live audio app Amp, which debuted in March, will soon launch a creator fund that will base monthly payouts on show performance.

Live audio’s ups and downs: Several companies have piggybacked off the live audio trend started by Clubhouse, but to varying degrees of success.

  • Amp has followed Clubhouse’s playbook in some ways, and looked more to Spotify in others. Users on Amp can host the standard conversation rooms about various topics, but Amp’s real pull is its function as a live DJ or radio show with access to Amazon’s royalty-free catalog of music.
  • Clubhouse itself has struggled to keep up the level of growth seen around its release. The company’s app downloads have never approached their Q1 2021 peak, and its share has been eaten up by rival apps. In June, the company laid off some employees in what it called a “streamlining” of its workforce.
  • Spotify recently rebranded its live audio app, once known as Green Room, as Spotify Live. The platform has launched similar live DJing features and opened access to its music catalog for creators.

Courting creators: It’s become standard for content platforms from YouTube to Spotify to TikTok to have creator funds in hopes of attracting top talent and their audiences, but it will take more than that for Amp to make a name for itself.

  • Just like platforms need creators and their audiences, creators need the platform to have an inherent appeal. Even with monthly payments, Amp could struggle to attract top creators if it doesn’t prove its value—or the value of social audio as a whole—to consumers.
  • Transparency issues also plague creator funds across apps, driving stability-hungry creators to extend their influence across multiple platforms. Creators on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok have complained multiple times about inconsistent payouts and the platforms’ opaque, changing standards.

The big takeaway: Social audio remains an experimental space, and Amazon will have to do more than replicate the moves of its competitors to stake a claim.

  • Any social platform should seek to entice creators to get users on board, but Amazon needs to prove an inherent user appeal in Amp in order for it to not get boxed up like audio initiatives at other companies.