VP of Digital
POWER MOVE: The second-largest digital retailer went heavy on cloud innovations like AutoRip and a scan-and-match service, and continued to make noise with strategic heavy discounting.
THE RUNDOWN: While the industry may be more infatuated by digital music outlets Muve, Spotify and YouTube, Amazon is still the United States’ second-largest generator of digital music revenue for labels, behind iTunes. When sales of physical CDs are factored into the mix, the only larger music accounts are iTunes and Walmart.
There was some head-scratching around the industry, however, as Amazon divvied up its digital and physical music operations last year. Carr, the longtime leader of Amazon’s music efforts, is said by sources to still carry strong influence on the physical side, which is now led by Ryan Reddington and Kevin Milligan.
Besides continuing its reputation as one of the industry’s largest accounts, Amazon added constant innovations and product enhancements during the past year. It continued to distinguish itself from the competition with strategic-heavy discounting; added a scan-and-match cloud service after reaching a deal with the major labels; and added its AutoRip component, which allows placement in the cloud of all CDs and MP3s ever purchased from Amazon by a customer at no extra charge. Increasing its cloud clout, Amazon affixed Cloud Player apps to plenty of new devices, including the iPhone, iPod Touch, Samsung TVs, Roku and Sonos.
In an email to Billboard, Carr says he’s not caught up in the industry’s power games. He points out that his, and Amazon’s, top priority is looking for new ways to empower consumers: “We want the customer to have the power . . . to choose where they buy their music, what devices they listen to it on and how they want to store and mange their music libraries.”