The Biggest Alexa Skill Publisher in Europe is German Digital Media Company Laut.ag
German digital media company, laut.ag, revealed to Voicebot last week that it has published over 1,240 Alexa skills, making it the largest Alexa skill publisher in Europe to date. In 2017, laut.fm became the first German radio station to introduce an Alexa skill. Laut.ag is an Internet-based startup that develops digital media for those in the music and entertainment industry. The company also runs a music magazine, laut.de, and an online radio platform, laut.fm. Past customers include MTV, ProSieben, Vodafone, and Microsoft. Laut.fm also told Voicebot it would be launching Google Actions by the end of the year.
Breaking Down the 1,240+ Skills
To date, 928 have been published under laut.fm, the company’s online radio platform. The remaining 332 skills have been published under laut.ag, a magazine that covers music.
All Alexa skills from laut.ag included in this skill count are what are called user-generated radio stations. The company allows listeners to apply as a DJ in order to create their own station channel, and some station channels are accessible through an Alexa skill. You can search through the online stations availablethrough this link. The corresponding Alexa skills are available in Germany only. However, laut.ag did tell Voicebot that it is in the process of working on a licensing-strategy for other countries. This is essential because music rights and royalty laws differ throughout the world and the user-generated radio stations are largely or entirely playing music they did not create.
Most skills offer radio or music streaming, but there are some others uses too. Examples of other use cases for the published skills include Sea Salt Radio, which plays ambient ocean sounds, SimLiveRadio, which broadcasts news and traffic information about simulation games, in addition to ad-free children’s stations.
Laut.fm Makes it Easy to Create an Alexa Skill
Laut.fm allows anyone over the age of 14 to make their own radio station and subsequent Alexa skill for that radio station. The company provides users with a browser-based interface to create the station and also handles the technical packaging in addition to the licensing. It is free to create a station as a DJ and to listen to stations. Audio ads are inserted by laut.fm to monetize the listening. DJ’s must only include legally owned, official releases of music in their stations. Kids-focused music stations are ad-free. Rainer Henze, CEO of laut.ag, commented on the company’s involvement with Amazon through Alexa skills,
We want our audience to have convenient access to our service everywhere. Amazon is a natural partner because we believe in voice interfaces and see the market now moving quickly into the intersection of voice and business applications. That’s why we strive to incorporate the voice-first mindset into our daily routine. Today, we’re excited to be the largest Alexa skill publisher in Europe.
Laut.fm offers more than 5,000 different radio stations, and boasts over 10 million hours of total listening time, making their listener ranges one of the largest in Germany.
Listening to Music is One of the Most Popular Voice Assistant Use-Cases
In the Voicebot Smart Speaker Consumer Adoption Report 2018 and again in this year’s 2019 edition, smart speaker users reported that listening to a streaming music service was the second highest use-case in terms of trial and the highest frequency use case on a monthly and daily basis. Only ‘ask a question’ rivals music listening for breadth of trial and use frequency. In November 2018, the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford also found that music listening was the most frequent smart speaker use case, in addition to the most valued use case. The volume of laut.fm’s music-oriented Alexa skills makes sense as a means to fulfill manifest consumer interest.