Just over a year after Alexa gained the ability to announce titles and artists before songs play, Amazon’s voice assistant today gained a range of new music-focused features powered by AI and machine learning. With any luck, they’ll make it easier to request specific versions of a song or album or ask for music by language.
Starting today in the U.S. in the Amazon Music app for iOS or Android and on Echo devices, Alexa users with an Amazon Music account can request a cappella, live, remastered, remix, lullaby, deluxe, acoustic, instrumental, compilation, or kids’ renditions of songs, artists, and genres. Saying commands like “Alexa, play the Con Calma remix” or “Alexa, play live J. Cole songs” kicks off the search for an alternative recording. Alternatively, while a song is playing, asking “Alexa, play the acoustic version of this” switches to the requested version.
Amazon says that Amazon Music customers with Echo devices in the U.S. will also now hear a “more natural” version of Alexa’s voice when she introduces music, including curated content like playlists and stations, or when music is requested by mood, genre, lyric, and more. Additionally, language-based requests on Amazon Music have expanded to support over 60 languages, including Vietnamese, Persian, Nigerian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Maori, Icelandic, and more, allowing listeners to combine an era or genre with their preferred language. And artists including The Weeknd, Justin Bieber, and Selena Gomez will announce their newest releases and hits on Amazon Music instead of Alexa for a limited time.
The enhancements follow the launch of Alexa’s Song ID, an opt-in feature that lets Echo smart speaker users ask Alexa to announce the title and artist name before each song plays. At the time, Amazon pitched it as a music, station, playlist, and chart discovery service for Alexa users, who it said ask Alexa devices “hundreds of thousands” of questions per day to find out more about the music they’re hearing.
In December 2018, Alexa gained a dialogue-driven Amazon Music search feature that lets you find new playlists through voice. (Saying “Alexa, help me find a playlist” or “Alexa, help me find a holiday playlist” gets the voice assistant to ask a few questions about genre, occasion, mood, tempo, and songs on Alexa-enabled speakers.) Coinciding with that roll-out, Alexa became better tailored to individual tastes; it now considers play count, era, favorite genres, and other factors when you ask to hear a track, and you can tell Amazon’s voice assistant to never play a particular song again.
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