Amazon Music

Alexa Can Now Pick Out A Capella, Instrumental, and Other Song Varieties on Amazon Music

Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant can differentiate between requests for a capella, live, and other versions of music. The new ability is one of several upgrades to the voice assistant’s integration with Amazon Music, part of Amazon’s broader effort to connect all of its products with Alexa.

Tuning In

The most prominent new feature is how users can accurately define the recording style of the song or playlist they want from Amazon Music. Alexa can distinguish between a capella, acoustic, compilation, deluxe, instrumental, children’s, live, lullaby, remastered, or remix variants. The request can be for a specific song or an artist’s whole live catalog. When the song is playing, users can ask Alexa to, for instance, “switch to an instrumental version of this,” and the song will switch to the new type requested. Alexa’s voice will sound different when discussing music as well, with a more naturalistic tone closer to human speech. Amazon Music via Alexa also understands a larger number of languages now, supporting music requests in more than 60 languages.

The new features are built into Amazon Music, and anyone with an Alexa and Amazon Music account can hear them at work. Alexa has been slowly adding new Amazon Music features. Last year, the voice assistant started announcing titles and artists ahead of the song. Some artists will be announcing their new music through Alexa soon, including Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, and The Weeknd.

Music to Your Ears

Music continues to be a critical component for voice assistants. Playing songs is consistently ranked among the most popular commands for Alexa and its rivals, and streaming platforms like Spotify and Pandora rely on them more and more as a source of revenue. With Alexa holding a large chunk of the voice assistant market, it makes sense for Amazon to want to boost its native music streaming service with better voice search features.

Alexa is far from exclusive when it comes to where its music comes from, though. Apple partnered with Amazon to make first Apple Music and then Apple podcasts playable through Alexa in the U.S. before extending the arrangement to make Apple Music playable on Alexa devices in several European countries as well. Spotify is growing its presence on Alexa as well, recently bringing its free streaming service. Meanwhile, SiriusXM added an archive of more than 10,000 hours of its shows to Alexa. Having Amazon Music rivals available on Alexa may seem counterproductive for the company, but it makes Alexa devices more attractive to consumers, which is the main point. Once people are using Alexa for other things, it becomes easier to offer special features and deals to encourage them to try Amazon Music.


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