Another new application for the Smart Speaker universe…an album launch! Bono, The Edge and… the other one… hold on a second… Adam Clayton (we just asked Alexa who the band members were) will be offering fans exclusive content, both old and new, to accompany the release of Songs of Innocence on December 3rd.
U2 have a track record of experimenting and embracing new technologies when the unleashing a new piece of work. Not always to universal praise or enjoyment it’s fair to say, as anyone with an Apple device would testify when a previous album was automatically downloaded to iTunes whether you wanted it or not.
Based on what we’ve heard, we think the lessons have been learned and can’t see this getting anything besides high praise for masterminding a first-of-its-kind broadcast called “The U2 Experience”. It’s not intrusive, but for fans who activate it, it sounds like a treasure trove of added value and premium content.
With our background in broadcast radio, we can see the potential of Smart Speakers to be the radio of the future. Audio content readily available and personalised in a way ‘linear’ broadcasts simply can’t. Amazon are referring to this venture as a “new type of radio” that will feature historical music, live performances and interviews as well as exclusive new content. The U2 Experience will launch simultaneously across multiple time zones on Wednesday in the UK, USA, Germany and Austria and will be available to Amazon Music account holders via multiple platforms.
Clearly, this works for both U2, using this new platform to reach fans with premium content and a direct route to purchase of their record. For Amazon, a behemoth rock band (brand!) that will publicise Amazon Music as they look to compete with Apple and Google.
We will be watching closely to see if, crucially, this works for the consumer. As ever, an idea is only as good as its execution. Done well, this could be another big moment for Amazon’s Alexa platforms, and Smart Speakers in general. We’ll update our thoughts once we’ve had a play!