New Amazon Music feature matches hit songs with feelings
Sometimes the best way a teen can share their feelings, or acknowledge their mental health, is through a favorite song.
This maxim of adolescence is the basis for "Sound It Out: When You Can't Say It, Play It," a new campaign partnership between the Ad Council and Amazon that aims to help parents and caregivers find a common language — music — with their teens.
Debuting Thursday, the campaign leverages Amazon's vast music library of over 100 million songs and a new interactive tool that pairs key emotions with corresponding tracks, many of them recognizable hits like Coldplay's "Fix You," Billie Eilish's "Lovely," and Selena Gomez's "Me and My Mind."
Parents who notice that their child is struggling but can't quite break through typical teen resistance to exploring their feelings through conversation might use the interactive tool to search for and share an appropriate song, with a simple prompt like, "Talk later?" or "Everyone can feel sad sometimes."
The tool is available in both English and Spanish. A two-minute film that accompanies the campaign features a Spanish-speaking mother and daughter navigating tough emotions and using the interactive tool.
"Our goal is to help parents and caregivers support their kids' emotional well-being, especially through those turbulent preteen and teen years. This new tool from Amazon will open up the conversation for families through one of the most powerful emotional associations we have: music," Heidi Arthur, chief campaign development officer of the Ad Council, told Mashable in a statement. "We know this digital experience will help spark some powerful and important talks."
The Sound It Out campaign is the Ad Council's latest effort to help teens talk about their feelings and mental health. The Seize the Awkward campaign, which launched in 2018, is designed to help teens and young adults learn how to ask friends about their well-being.
Sound It Out comes in the wake of heightened emotional and mental health distress amongst teens. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that, in 2021, teen girls experienced record levels of sexual violence and sadness, and that three quarters of LGBQ+ teens expressed persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, with nearly one in four LGBQ+ teens reporting a suicide attempt.
When parents use Sound It Out's interactive tool, they can search for emotions like afraid, confused, inspired, heartbroken, and happy. Those emotions will yield song matches like "Breathin" by Ariana Grande, "Ordinary People" by John Legend, "Girl on Fire" by Alicia Keys, "Call Out My Name" by The Weeknd, and "Good Feeling" by Flo Rida.
Once parents know which song they'd like to send, they can ask Alexa through an Echo device or the free Alexa app to share it with their teen, who will receive a notification within the app. The teen can listen to the song at their convenience, and the song can then be played on any Alexa-enabled device on Amazon Music's free, Prime, or Unlimited plans. Alexa must be enabled to use the tool. Amazon is not collecting personal user data on the campaign's landing page, which includes the interactive tool.
In addition to the interactive tool, the campaign has a website dedicated to helping parents and caregivers start meaningful conversations about emotional well-being with their teens. A "conversation starter pack" offers prompts to help parents and teens talk about subjects like their favorite musical artist, who they consider their closest friends and family members, and what's been making them sad or happy lately. A separate guide to emotions offers basic information for topics including sadness, sexuality, racism, and grief, and offers suggestions for starting related conversations with a teen.
"The Ad Council’s initiative to create open, accepting, and proactive discussions around mental health resonates with our goals to do better and be better for our customers, employees, and communities," Alan Moss, vice president of Global Advertising Sales at Amazon, said in a statement. "Music has always been a vehicle for connection, and 'Sound It Out: When You Can't Say It, Play It' provides parents and caregivers with another tool to check in with their teens."
If you're feeling suicidal or experiencing a mental health crisis, please talk to somebody. You can reach the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988; the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860; or the Trevor Project at 866-488-7386. Text "START" to Crisis Text Line at 741-741. Contact the NAMI HelpLine at 1-800-950-NAMI, Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. ET, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you don't like the phone, consider using the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline Chat at crisischat.org. Here is a list of international resources.