…Or did you?

You may or may not have noticed that us Trajectory folk have been talking about the Experience Economy for quite a while now, most notedly at our latest Trends Breakfast. It was here, over coffees and croissants, that we investigated two main points:

  • The shift in prioritising spending on experiences rather than on ‘stuff’
  • The shift in our relationship with the material possessions that we do purchase

So, with that in mind, Amazon’s announcement this week that they will be launching a ‘live music business’ meant that we had to squeeze just one more blog out of the topic.

Amazon’s latest addition to their Prime service enables customers to “see all major artists performing live, up-close and personal, in iconic and intimate venues” in a bid to fight for a top spot on the TV podium, above competitor Netflix.

Recent data shows that 16% of us commit to events despite not being able to afford them.

This makes Amazon’s focus on providing ‘live’ entertainment at a subsidised cost a smart move, where customers can experience an experience without actually having to be there.

In many ways, this is nothing new. The BBC has covered every tent-to-stage inch of Glastonbury for years, alongside cinemas such as Curzon and ODEON streaming live theatre and opera performances for their audiences. Having said that, what Amazon’s new service offers is the chance to reverse engineer the meaning of an ‘up-close and personal’ experience, by transforming ‘unique exclusivity’ into something for the masses.

This leads us to question whether we are coming full circle with the experience economy, where the focus is so much on having seen or done something that the nature of how we obtain these memories and stories is gradually being eroded into something that is pixelated, recorded and shared online. How many times have you seen a group of friends Instagram their brunch at such length that that the hollandaise sauce goes cold?

We know that the trend of the Experience Economy is growing, and that the relationship we have with the things that we do buy is ever-becoming more complex.

So, when Amazon Prime customers subscribe to this live streaming service, what are they actually buying? Are they purchasing the convenience of being able to attend experiences and events that they would have otherwise missed out on if they had to rely on literal ticket sales, or are they buying into another tweet worthy opportunity to tick off the bucket list.

If it’s the latter, then where will we end up…living even more of our lives behind a screen?

It seems likely, however, that services like Amazon Live will simply cater to those times when, for whatever reason, we miss out on the real thing. Our exclusive Time Use data from 2016 confirms the continuation into the digital age of perennial trend: there is nothing consumers enjoy more than out-of-home leisure. In the future, the pain of missing out will be eased by better quality in home entertainment – but it isn’t a substitute for consumers just yet.