Spicing up voice apps on Amazon’s Alexa assistant with jammin’ tunes just got a whole lot easier. The Seattle firm today announced general availability of the Music Skill API, which allows developers to stream songs from online services to Alexa devices and Amazon Echo speakers in the U.S.
Amazon unveiled the Music Skill API in September, but this week marks its public debut.
“The Music Skill API gives you self-service access to the Alexa capabilities you need to enable customers to search your catalog via voice,” BJ Haberkorn, director of Amazon Alexa developer marketing, wrote in a blog post. “Once you’ve connected, your customers in the U.S. can enjoy music from your catalog on tens of millions of Alexa-enabled devices.”
Playing music with a skill that’s integrated into the API is as straightforward as saying, “Alexa, play songs by <artist> from <music service>.” Skills can stream to any compatible device, or multiple Echo devices using Alexa Multi-Room Music. Additionally, users can tap song catalogs for alarms.
Developers don’t need to build their own voice user interface — instead, they simply provide music metadata to Amazon on a “regular basis,” and Amazon takes care of updating the voice models in the background. The Music Skill API affords a degree of control over the experience, with skip limits and stream protection. And telematics tools enable performance tracking using metrics such as skill enablement and disablement, account linking, and music playback.
Tidal and several other music providers are already using the Music Skill API, according to Amazon.
The Music Skill API debut comes a day after Amazon launched Alexa Presentation Language (APL) — a suite of tools designed to make it easier for developers to create “visually rich” skills for Alexa devices with screens, such as Amazon’s Echo Show, Fire TV, Fire Tablet, and Echo Spot — in public beta.
This week also saw the launch of new white-box Alexa original design manufacturer (ODM) hardware: Calix’s GigaSpire Max and Gemtek’s Vita. The two smart home hubs and gateways will tap Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service for speech recognition and access to skills.