Amazon Music announced today (July 15) a new program designed to provide global support to emerging artists from around the world. Called Breakthrough, the initiative will launch with a class of six initial artists: country singer Gabby Barrett, R&B singer Kiana Ledé, grime MC Jay1, alt-R&B singer and poet Arlo Parks, folk-pop group Provinz and German pop artist Malik Harris.
The program is designed to provide global marketing support for emerging artists across genres and territories, with artists from the U.S., U.K. and Germany in the inaugural class. That support will come in the form of playlisting and programming across Amazon Music’s existing channels, custom merch stores on Amazon.com, utilization of programs like Amazon Originals and Amazon-owned services like Twitch, and a new dedicated Breakthrough playlist populated with emerging artists from across the globe, as well as territory-specific emerging artist playlists for individual countries. (On Amazon’s Echo, "Alexa, Play Breakthrough" will get you there.)
"Developing artists are the lifeblood of this business: They shape culture, they define trends and a lot of times labels aren’t in a position to support developing artists the way that they’d like to," Kirdis Postelle, who joined Amazon Music in March as global head of artist marketing from a stint as executive vp/general manager at Hitco, tells Billboard. "Having recently come from the label world, this program is exactly what you want for your baby artists that can’t get that established budget for themselves. This program fills that void."