Alexa can now create via voice command music playlists at the behest of users, the latest addition to Amazon digital helper's growing list of smart features.
The new feature, initially previewed in beta form a few weeks back, is now rolling out in the United States and is accessible only for subscribers of Amazon Music Unlimited and Prime Music listeners. Take note though that to enjoy the service, paid membership is required. For Amazon Prime subscription, the fee starts at $12.99 per month and for Amazon Music Unlimited the cost begins at $9.99.
There is no indication yet if Amazon plans to make this new Alexa feature global, which is likely as the online retailer takes on the rising challenges coming from close competitors like Apple and Google.
Just Ask Alexa
To make the feature work, users simply need to order the Amazon assistant by saying, "Alexa create a new playlist," and the bot will go to work. This command starts from scratch but if users would want a playlist that is built around a favorite song, the magic words would be, "Alexa create a new playlist from this song."
Likewise, there is an option to modify an existing playlist and to do that, just say the phrase, "Alexa, add this to my playlist," and the assistant will automatically add the nominated song.
Clearly, Alexa's latest capabilities are in reaction to the smart features currently seen with the service's closest rivals. Apple Music and Spotify, for example, have been offering voice command features for some time now but with explicit limitations such as requesting of song playbacks.
In contrast, Amazon replicates whatever the competition has to offer — like access to nearly unlimited number of songs, ad-free music listening experience, unlimited skips during listening sessions, and the option to download for offline listening — while at the same time, giving more control and unique experience to users.
In addition, Alexa can now tweak the usual alarm clock routine by playing a picked song instead of the usual wake up tune. This was rolled out last December and unsurprisingly, Google copied the feature.
The latest feature addition to Alexa means Amazon is acknowledging that users are increasingly turning on smart speakers for listening pleasure. To attract more users, Amazon is reportedly in talks with familiar names such as Sonos and Harman that could lead to these companies providing high-end speakers to the Echo line.
If true, such an approach will see Amazon deviating from its usual business model of selling affordable devices that draw in more buyers. This scenario, however, is unlikely to happen anytime soon.