Spotify May Be Developing a Voice Assistant

Spotify is developing a voice assistant for its app. The popular streaming platform appears to be adding direct voice control with “Hey Spotify” as the wake word, judging from the details spotted by software researcher Jane Manchun Wong.

Spotify by Voice

The screenshot shared by Wong shows a new Voice sub-menu in the Spotify app where users grant permission for Spotify to use their microphone. Spotify will apparently only listen for the wake word when the app is open on the screen. That’s a big hint as to how Spotify might envision people using the voice service. The only time people are likely to keep Spotify open on their device is when they can’t hold it, such as when they are driving. The voice assistant may also be tied to the device for playing music and podcasts and cars that Spotify announced it was working on a year ago.

The extent of the voice assistant isn’t known, but presumably, it will include search and playback controls. Spotify has yet to share any information about its plans for a voice assistant publicly, so there’s no timeline either, but the foundation is there in the app.

New Spotify Tracks

Voice controls built by and for Spotify would presumably need to offer more than the voice assistants already on smartphones to be useful to people. That’s less necessary than it used to be, however. In October, Apple expanded Siri’s domains to allow people to ask its voice assistant to play specific songs, albums, or playlists. Users can also shift the default music player on Siri from Apple Music to Spotify. That was a big change from before when Siri could open and pause or play Spotify, but not actually search through it for specific tracks and albums. The restriction was serious enough that Spotify complained to the European Commission about Apple’s Siri limits.

The voice assistant is only one of Spotify’s potential new features. Wong previously found that Spotify had started testing a “Create Podcast” button on its app. Both features would make Spotify a much more interactive app. Combined, it could theoretically mean you could record and publish a podcast without ever touching your phone, although a good microphone would be essential to make it audible.


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