WE ALREADY LOVE the Amazon Echo. One reason for that is it’s hard to pin down just what it is: A Bluetooth speaker with a wonderful lady named Alexa trapped inside, a note-taker and shopping-list-maker, a smarthome hub, a loyal companion in this lonely world. Speaking to a futuristic tennis-ball can seems odd in theory, but not in practice. It’s pretty great, actually. Amazon’s speech recognition is rock solid.
Nothing’s perfect, though. If there’s one frustrating thing about Amazon’s voice-controlled assistant, it’s a lack of support for the big-name services you’d want at your beck and call. Yes, you can request Pandora or iHeartRadio stations, songs you have in your Amazon Music library, or whatever’s available on Amazon Prime Music if you have a Prime membership. And of course, you can use Echo as a Bluetooth speaker—one that conveniently pairs to your device if you simply ask it to.
What you haven’t been able to do is ask, “Alexa, play my flute rock playlist on Spotify” and have it work. But that changes today! Amazon announced that Echo just added support for Spotify Premium users. Spotify subscribers just need to sign into their account via the Alexa app for iOS and Android. Then they can get down to barking Spotify commands at Alexa, bless her heart.
Amazon says the new Echo functionality includes Spotify Connect, which allows for a seamless transition between on-the-go and at-home listening. You can hand off whatever you’re listening to from your mobile device to the Echo speaker, and it’ll pick up right where you left off.
This could also be the start of bigger things for Amazon, as it pushes the Echo toward being an open-ended platform. It’s a significant change in strategy for Amazon. Due to the company’s Prime Music service, Spotify has generally been considered a competitor. But there’s a big difference between the two streaming services: Amazon Prime Music offers “more than a million” songs, while Spotify now boasts more than 30 million. The ability to access 30 times as many tunes with spoken commands is music to Echo owners’ ears.