Just when radio thought the smart speaker craze was bringing radio back into the home, Amazon has thrown a monkey wrench into that theory. The online retail giant is getting ready to launch a free, ad-supported music service, specifically for their smart speaker device, as early as this week.
The service on the Amazon Echo devices would be supported by advertising and all users would need to do is ask for a specific song.
Billboard is reporting that Amazon can afford to discount music as a loss-leader to support its core retail business. Amazon already offers a music service called Amazon Music Unlimited for $9.99 a month, $7.99 for Prime members and $3.99 a month for people who only listen on an Echo device.
The radio industry is very high on consumer adoption of smart speakers. Industry executives believe with the demise of the regular AM/FM radio, smart speakers are bringing radio back into the home. To make that a reality, of course, radio stations must have a skill on the devices to make it easy for their listeners to find them on the voice-activated technology. According to a report from Canalys, by 2021 there will be more smart speakers in use worldwide than tablets. The smart speaker universe will grow from about 114 million in 2018 to 208 million this year, to over 500 million by 2023.