Amazon is bringing Alexa to its Music app as it tries to challenge Spotify and Apple, leaders in the streaming music industry.
The Seattle tech giant announced Tuesday that Alexa, Amazon’s voice-controlled virtual assistant, will now be available on the Amazon Music streaming app for iOS and Android in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Austria.
Users will be able to control playback and request songs with Alexa. It activates via the push-to-talk function on the bottom right area of the app. They can also request Alexa to recite the weather, news and sports scores, but there is no access to Alexa Skills.
Amazon customers are already using Alexa to control music via Echo devices, but not smartphones — until today. This is part of Amazon’s push to get Alexa on more devices; it added Alexa to its shopping app earlier this year. Alexa is also showing up in non-Amazon devices — for example, check out GE’s new Sol lamp that GeekWire reviewed earlier this month.
Alexa on the Amazon Music app will offer the same functionality as Alexa with an Echo. CNET reported that Alexa’s natural language processing will allow users to ask questions and receive answers about particular music, even with few details — questions like, “play the new song by Coldplay,” or, “Play Coldplay from the 2000s.” The same features are already available for Echo owners who are requesting songs.
Prime Music is included with an Amazon Prime membership and offers more than two million songs, ad-free and on-demand. Amazon Music Unlimited, a closer competitor to Spotify and Apple Music, costs $7.99 per month for Prime members and $9.99 for non-members. It offers “tens of millions of songs” that can be downloaded.
“With Amazon Music Unlimited, you get all of the great features and functionality of Prime Music…and a lot more,” Amazon notes.
Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) published a new report last week from its latest “home automation devices” study that shows Amazon and its Echo products with a 76 percent U.S. market share, compared to 24 percent for Google and its Google Home device. That’s in line with a study earlier this year from eMarketer.