Advertised via flier to popular music students and some journalism students interested in radio simply as a "Live Creator Event," the evening was a live activation of the app. Each attendee downloaded it, set up an account and created two of their own live audio shows. The event had around 60 registered participants, according to an organizer.
Amp is free for creators and listeners. The condition to create an account is that users must have an Amazon account, so students without Amazon accounts had to sign up to participate.
The event was promotional in nature, with merch, app tutorials and an Amazon gift card prize for the attendee who went on to host a third show on the app with the most listeners.
John Pombier, Amazon's senior manager of community engagement for Arizona, said that the event was prompted by Amazon’s push to "give at a hyperlocal level."
"We can bring resources to your community that give community members the opportunity to do something they never thought they’d have to do," Pombier said.
Pombier and the community engagement team originally connected Amp with ASU's popular music program as well as Beats by Girlz. He said that he sees Amp as a way for young artists to get a following.
"I hope that (the participants) all get real world experience in playlisting and podcasting, because this is honestly the direction that the music industry is going in," said Erin Barra-Jean, the executive director and founder of Beats by Girlz and a program director and assistant professor for the School of Music, Dance and Theatre. Barra-Jean has worked with Amazon on other community engagement initiatives in the past.
Barra-Jean said that alongside providing hands on experience, the event gave students the opportunity to access funding for their work.
When the attendees participated in the activation, they entered Amp’s creator fund, which monetarily rewards creators based on how well their shows perform.
Amp's website states "We're exploring different ways to reward Amp Creators for creating on Amp, so the metrics we use to determine reward amounts may change over time."
How much money can be earned from the fund by creators was not made clear at the event.
Barra-Jean said that creators are inundated with different platforms, including TikTok, Instagram, Twitch, Clubhouse and more, so the event gave students the opportunity to explore Amp in depth.
Boateng M., a creator community manager for Amp at Amazon, told students at the event that they can think of Amp as "Twitch’s cousin, but in its early days."
Amp launched in March of 2022 and is currently only available in the U.S. on iOS and Android. Barra-Jean and eight different popular music students interviewed at the activation all said they had never heard of Amp prior to learning about the event.
"It doesn’t seem like many people know about it, so it seems like it would be kind of hard to reach people," Melanie Caro, a junior studying popular music, said.
The app combines characteristics of streaming platforms with live radio.
Amp live streamers have free access to a catalog of music which can be cued to create a playlist for the show. Creators can talk over the show and listeners can call in, making the platform fitting for DJs or live podcasters.
As for artists looking to promote their own work, they can play their own music outside of the Amp catalog provided that it is licensed appropriately. However, the app has limitations on the number of consecutive songs that can be played by a single artist and does not offer the ability to mix songs or let creators control how they fade songs in and out.
"You don't have much control over how your production goes, which is a big con over normal live streaming and non-live podcasts," said Ashton Brown, a freshman studying popular music. "The one thing it has going for it is the live interactions between the hosts and the listeners."
Winston Turner, a senior studying popular music, heard about Amp through a friend and radio show co-host who was involved in the event’s planning. He considered using Amp as a second platform for their show, om* radio, which is currently on SoundCloud, but soon realized that uploading pre-recorded mixes for the show was not possible.
After learning more about the app at the event, Turner was brainstorming a way to use Amp to do recap episodes of their show. He found the call-in feature especially promising.
"I also learned about the inviting callers feature, which I think is really cool, because it kind of reminds me of Twitter workspaces," Turner said.
The students were left to evaluate whether Amp could benefit their careers.
"I am excited to use this in the future. I'm probably going to use it, probably ironically a little bit, but I have enjoyed this experience," Nicholas Forney, a senior studying popular music, said.
"My goal here is a pretty simple one, figure out how to work with more creatives," Boateng said. "We figured the easiest way to do that is going into schools and (to work) with programs that are working with future creators."
Edited by Claire van Doren, Sadie Buggle and Caera Learmonth.