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It's Prime Day today. Can you tell us a little more about MixTape Rewind and the success of reimagined renditions?

Mixtape Rewind is a soulful rendition of 90s and early 2000s iconic music hits performed by some of today’s most talented Indian music artists. The successful and overwhelming response by listeners from the previous Mixtape launches that garnered over 330 MM+ views on YouTube, inspired us to create the Rewind edition of Mixtape to unwind to the good old simpler times.

Mixtape Rewind marks another step in our commitment to serving our listeners with delightful performances by their favourite artists, with all songs launching exclusively first on Amazon Prime Music for Prime members to enjoy ad-free and hands-free with the voice enabled Alexa experience.

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Keeping up the momentum of offering blockbuster entertainment this Prime Day, the season’s theme, ‘Rewind To Nostalgia’ Mixtape will take every listener down the memory lane, as it brings together Jubin Nautiyal, Guru Randhawa, Tulsi Kumar, Ash King, Armaan Malik, Benny Dayal, Darshan Rawal, Dhvani Bhanushali, Jonita Gandhi, Millind Gaba, Parampara Tandon, Payal Dev, Prakriti Kakkar, Palak Mucchal, Shilpa Rao, Sukriti Kakkar, Sachet Tandon, Tanishk Bagchi, Yasser Desai, Zara Khan with their beautiful renditions of melodies from 90s and 2000s. These artists bring fresh variations with their signature touch to timeless hits like ‘Pyaar Kiya Toh Nibhana’, ‘Tera Chehra’, ‘Dheere Dheere’, ‘Wada Raha Pyaar Se,’ ‘Kya Mujhe Pyaar Hai’ and many more.

You recently announced the launch of podcasts in India- offering nine million podcast episodes at launch – how are they catching up in India? Given then they are in various languages and it is still a nascent field in India?

Podcasts was the biggest launch on Amazon Prime Music India after the service launch in 2018, making Prime Music an immersive destination of music, content, culture, and community. The launch of podcasts on Amazon Prime Music met with overwhelming response from customers. Podcasts may sound nascent and niche because of it’s a new term and the fact that they were recently made available on audio streaming services, however the concept is not new to Indians. Spoken word content has been around for decades, be it radio, storytelling, news, learning, music shows, sports commentary, engaging quizzes etc. In making a wide selection of spoken word content available on digital streaming platforms customers now have global selection available at the tap of button to listen across devices.

Prime members can stream podcasts across Android, iOS, Web player and Echo devices anywhere, anytime. Customers have the flexibility to listen to a podcast on their mobile app and then resume on their Echo just by asking Alexa, with no additional sign in or device linking needed. They can also access to Alexa via our mobile app for Android and iOS and request a podcast by specific season or episode by number. Our teams are constantly working to give our customers an enriching and immersive listening experience.

Can you tell us bit more on content & language consumption patterns?

We launched with a mix of globally and locally popular podcasts across a plethora of genres for Prime members. Three months into launch, the content coverage has grown significantly with the addition of major Indian podcasters now available on the service and growing each day. In the three months since launch, we learnt that Business, Education, self-improvement and religion are the most popular genres of consumption with Gita for Daily Living, On Purpose with Jay Shetty, Think Fast Talk Smart, Sadhguru, Woice with Warikoo Podcast consistently featuring in top favourites of Prime members.
Top shows in Indic languages are – Hanuman Chalisa, Akbar Birbal stories, Mahabharat, Spiritual Gupshup, Top Shree Krishna Bhajans, Paranormal Reality etc. This is just the beginning and we are learning and growing each day as more and more Prime members adopt and listen to podcasts on the service.

How do you balance tech and human inputs to curate best listening experiences for Prime Music customers?

At the very core music means different things to different people, at different times in their lives. For example, you and I depending on our age, state of mind, the people we are with will have very different associations with a specific song or album. We tend to associate music with memories of moments in our lives. Music that we grew up with as kids, music that we heard with friends in school and college, music we heard the first time you had a crush etc are very strong musical associations. We may be fans of the same artist, but have a very different playlists of favourites.

Creating listening experiences, both musical and spoken word will always be part tech and part art. In listening to customers and sharpening this nuance our team of curators use tech extensively to help create musical journeys across playlists and stations. Our team of merchandisers use technology to improve the personalized relevance of your browsing experience. The recent additions of personalized playlists like My discovery Mix and My Soundtrack help listeners discover new music and go back to favourites basis their engagement on the service.

“Creating listening experiences, both musical and spoken word will always be part tech and part art.”

What activities by customers have surprised you the most in terms of music preference? Did you see a change in this listening pattern/trend during the pandemic?

We saw some very interesting consumption behaviour across the different phases of the pandemic, lockdowns and unlocking. We see the highest listening on Saturday post the pandemic as compared to Friday pre pandemic. Customers now prefer streaming music online much more versus offline playback in the pre pandemic period. With the significant reduction of new Indian soundtracks and albums listeners went down memory lane turning to their favourite music from the last 5-7 years.

Finally, as someone who leads Prime Music in India, can we get an insight into what are your favourite genres of music when you feel the need to unwind?

Now this is tough one. Having learnt Indian classical music and been fortunate to work in the Indian music industry over the past 2 decades I was lucky to be exposed to a range of music genres, globally. If I had to pick my favourites currently, it would be Ghazals, Blues, Jazz and instrumental Indian classical.