Amazon is trying to reinvent radio

The mobile app Amp allows users to create their own radio shows and will feature programs from star-studded guests.


Radio lovers have reason to rejoice this week. Amazon has debuted a mobile app that intends to bring the world of DJ-ing and live radio to the masses. With Amp, users can create their own “radio shows,” streaming set lists of music and taking calls from listeners live on-air.

“It’s easy to share your voice and favorite songs with the world on Amp,” Amp’s description reads in the App Store. “Decide on a show title, create a playlist, and you’re just seconds away from streaming your own radio show. Play music, riff on sports or pop culture. Share your hot takes and playlists with like-minded listeners. Or call in to live shows and talk with hosts in real-time.

The app, in its beta version, is free to use and features a catalogue of tens of millions of licensed songs to curate shows with, with the promise of more available music on the way. In a statement for its launch, Amp’s vice president John Ciancutti said the app was “creating a new version of radio that will have an infinite dial of shows.”

Amp, though, is also being unveiled with a slate of star-studded guests who will host their own shows on the app: Nicki Minaj will revive her fan-favorite show “Queen Radio” (previously on Apple Music’s Beats 1 Radio), alongside other programs from personalities and hosts like Nikita Dragun and Guy Raz, and artists including Pusha T, Travis Barker, Lil Yachty, and Tinashe.

The new app follows a burgeoning tech trend that enables live audio chat rooms, most notably sparked by the app Clubhouse, followed by big tech’s push into the arena with features like Twitter’s Spaces and Spotify’s Greenroom. Amp, though, is meant to specifically focus on and revolutionize the power of music and talk radio.

“Radio has always been about music and culture,” Ciancutti said in his statement. “But imagine if you were inventing the medium for the first time today. You’d combine what people love about radio—spontaneous talk, new music discovery, diverse personalities, and broad programming—with all that’s made possible by today’s technology. You’d make it so anybody with a phone, a voice, and a love for music could make their own show. And that’s exactly what we’re doing.”