Amazon has introduced a consumer-oriented social communication app called Amp that businesses could find helpful for promoting their brands.
The company put the free Apple iPhone app into beta this week, joining the ranks of similar audio-only apps like Clubhouse, Spotify Greenroom and Twitter Spaces. Though aimed at the consumer market, Amp could provide companies with another avenue to broadcast messages to customers.
Amp lets hosts use their smartphones to create and broadcast talk and music shows that include taking calls from listeners. Users can also follow creators, see their scheduled sessions and tap into a library of millions of licensed songs from large music labels.
Amp is available only for the Apple iOS operating system. Future versions will add integrations to Amazon's Alexa voice assistant and better search and discovery features.
Businesses could use the app to get messages out to customers, industry observers said. Amp-created shows could engage listeners and associate a positive experience with a company's brand.
"Bringing the community into an interactive experience changes how creators and fans can activate movements, launch new works of art and, of course, create new fan bases," said Constellation Research founder R "Ray" Wang.
Companies use similar apps for marketing, including the voice-based social media service Clubhouse. Pet food brand Pedigree and cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase sponsor and take part in Clubhouse talks.
Amp could be helpful for virtual events, Zeus Kerravala, founder of ZK Research, said. An Amp show could let non-attendees hear a breakout session and call in if they want to speak to the presenter. Such a scenario would broaden a session's audience.
"With a tool like this, I could listen in for a few minutes, [see] if I like the content and then join, instead of having to make the decision ahead of time," he said.
Amp is unlikely to supplant any existing communication tool companies use to reach their audience, Kerravala said. Instead, the app can broaden a firm's communication efforts, giving customers one more mechanism to interact with a company.
"It's not better per se, but it adds to the choice that people want," Kerravala said.
People interested in using Amp must wait their turn by signing a waitlist. Amazon chose to limit access to gather early-adopter feedback for feature development. Users need to log in with an Amazon account.
Mike Gleason is a reporter covering unified communications and collaboration tools. He previously covered communities in the MetroWest region of Massachusetts for the Milford Daily News, Walpole Times, Sharon Advocate and Medfield Press. He has also worked for newspapers in central Massachusetts and southwestern Vermont and served as a local editor for Patch. He can be found on Twitter at @MGleason_TT.