Amazon is working on a Clubhouse clone with the ability to include music in real-time. “Project Mic,” as the app is being called internally, lands somewhere between Clubhouse’s casual conversational spaces and a live podcasting app. The new app will be marketed as a way for anyone at all to record and distribute a live radio show, even with music. The Verge reports that Project Mic’s ultimate goal is to “democratize and reinvent the radio.”
Clubhouse’s runaway success popularized live audio experiences to such an extent that just about every social media and Big Tech company has attempted to duplicate it this year. Twitter has Spaces; Facebook is testing multiple new audio features; Spotify is prepping a live audio feature; even Reddit has hopped on the bandwagon.
Amazon is hoping it can separate Project Mic from the rest of this pack by including native support for music — something Clubhouse has long struggled to incorporate in its app.
A little different than most — Amazon is planning to incorporate Amazon Music into Project Mic, giving it a leg up over Clubhouse from day one. Users will be able to tap into Amazon’s massive music collection for their live programming, giving it more of a live radio show feel than Clubhouse’s conversations.
Amazon is also planning to recruit celebrity talent and influencers to start their own live shows on the app as promotion. A presentation viewed by The Verge showed a mock-up of the new app with listings for shows that are currently live, trending topics, and featured creators.
But can it compete? — The best tool Amazon has in its arsenal right now is its extensive network of products — and the company knows it. Unlike Clubhouse, which requires a direct app connection to listen in, Amazon plans for its live radio shows to be available through basically all Amazon devices: Echo smart speakers, Twitch, Audible, and Amazon Music. That ease of access will surely help popularize the new live experience.
Clubhouse may have been the catalyst for the live audio renaissance, but Project Mic — at least in this current, leaked form — bears almost no resemblance to its predecessor. It’s more of a cousin than a sibling.
Project Mic won’t really be competing with Clubhouse; it’s not a social network in the way Clubhouse markets itself to be. Instead, Amazon will be competing with traditional live radio, which is still very much available to the public, and with Spotify, which has really taken over the audio space in both music and podcasts.