Amazon is on an Alexa improvement kick with the Amazon Fire TV Cube that has been bringing formerly Echo-exclusive features to the streaming device. The Fire TV Cube gained support for Alexa Announcements earlier this month and now Amazon has announced that the next update will add support for multi-room music and Alexa follow-up mode. Multi-room music support will make it possible to sync music playback on the Fire TV Cube with all other whole-home audio capable Alexa devices, such as the Amazon Echo speaker line up. Follow-up mode allows the Fire TV Cube to continue listening after responding to a voice command so that customers don’t need to repeat the wake word before follow-up requests. Read more ›
Amazon Music is launching a few new Alexa features to help find the best music to play. You can now say “Alexa, help me find a playlist” to prompt the voice assistant to ask you questions about what kind of music you’d like to listen to. After asking about the genre or tempo you want, you’ll hear sample tracks and receive followup questions to narrow down the right playlist choice. Read more ›
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A new Amazon Music app for Android TV has just popped up in the Google Play Store, as first spotted by Android Police. Judging by the screenshots, the app appears to be very similar to the one available on Fire TV devices. The app is not available to install just yet, but you can pre-register for it, which will notify you when it’s available. It’s unknown if the app will only be available for NVIDIA Shield TVs, like the Prime Video app for Android TV, or if other Android TV devices will also be able to install the app once it’s released. This new Amazon Music app will give Android TV users access to both Prime Music, which is the 2 million song service that is included for free with a Prime membership, and Amazon Music Unlimited, which is the 50 million song service that requires a separate paid subscription.
Amazon has announced that Apple Music will be available on Alexa devices, such as Echos and Fire TVs, on December 17th. Apple’s subscription streaming music offering is among the most popular services, thanks to the popularity of Apple’s mobile devices. This isn’t the first time Apple Music has been made available on non-Apple devices, since there is an Apple Music Android app, but Echo devices will be the first non-Apple smart speaker platform to natively support the service. Once an Apple Music Alexa skill is released, customers will only need to enable the skill and link their account to begin streaming Apple music through Alexa. All 50 million Apple Music tracks, including radio stations, like Apple’s live Beats 1 station, will be available through standard Alexa voice commands.
Alexa has a new feature that lets you follow music artists. Doing so will result in your Echo devices letting you know when that artist releases something new. The alerts come in as standard Alexa notification, which means your Echo’s LED light ring will light up yellow and you’ll need to say “Alexa, what did I miss” or “Alexa, read my notifications” to hear the message. To follow or unfollow an artist, simply say “Alexa, follow/unfollow [artist name].” You can also follow and unfollow artists by visiting their page in the Amazon Music mobile app or web player.
Amazon has announced that their Amazon Music Unlimited streaming music service is now available in Canada. The service is available with a 90-day free trial. After that, Prime members will pay CDN $7.99 per month or CDN $79 per year, while non-Prime members will pay CDN $9.99 per month. Those prices are for individual plans, but Family plans for up to six household members are also available for CDN $14.99 per month or CDN $149 per year. The plan options don’t stop there because there is also a CDN $3.99 per month plan that can only be streamed from a single Echo device and a CDN $4.99 per month plan that is only available to students. Amazon Music Unlimited offers multiple millions of songs, versus Prime Music, which only offers a little over 1 million songs.
Amazon has introduced a new feature called Alexa Cast that, as you can probably guess, lets you cast music to Alexa devices. It is being rolled out in an update to the Amazon Music app for iOS and Android. Tapping the new casting icon in the app brings up a list of your Alexa devices as well as your Alexa groups as destinations for music. Control between the app and the device remains in sync and can be controlled through either the device or the app simultaneously. Read more ›
Thanks to Alexa, the Amazon Fire TV line of devices have shared many features with the Amazon Echo line of devices. With the announcement of the new Fire TV Cube, Amazon has blurred the lines between those devices more than ever. That’s why, starting June 21st, when the Fire TV Cube ships, all Fire TVs, Fire TV Sticks, and Fire TV Edition televisions will become eligible for the significantly cheaper $3.99 Amazon Music Unlimited plan that is currently only available to Echo devices. Read more ›
Amazon has started rolling out an update to the Amazon Music app for Android and iOS devices that adds hands-free Alexa capabilities. These apps gained Alexa last year but you had to press an Alexa button on the screen each time you wanted to make a request. With this update, as long as the Amazon Music app is on-screen, you can now say “Alexa” and make a request without touching anything. Read more ›
Amazon has announced an upcoming exclusive audio program called The Soundboard with Elton John. It’s an aduio stream that will start on April 6th at midnight EST and last only 24 hours. The program is airing in conjuction with the release of two separate Elton John and Bernie Taupin tribute albums Revamp and Restoration. All Amazon customers, without needing to be a Prime member or Amazon Music Unlimited subscriber, will be able to tune into the audio collaboration between Elton John and long-time lyricist Bernie Taupin to hear exclusive interviews with Elton, Bernie, Coldplay, The Killers, Chris Stapleton, Q-Tip, Demi Lovato, and many more. Customers in the U.S., U.K., Germany, and Austria can listen to the program using the Amazon Music app, the web player, or through Alexa by saying “Alexa, play The Soundboard.“
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