Yesterday, Amazon announced plans to add Alexa to the Amazon Music app on iOS and Android. This removes the barrier of entry that is the Echo line and gives Amazon Music subscribers app-access to Alexa and the handy things she can do. By serving up Alexa to Amazon Music subscribers, Amazon may have just made its own streaming service a significantly better than the reigning king: Spotify.
Consider that up until now, the music streaming service you used was largely determined by the ecosystems you were already a member of when they launched. Spotify was one of the earliest on the scene, using Facebook to attract new members and grow its user base at an astounding rate. It didn’t take long before Google, Apple, and Amazon were following in Spotify’s, offering services that were meant to be more appealing to Android, iOS, and Prime subscribers respectively.
Each once carved out a sizable userbase for itself, but for the longest time, there weren’t any major differences to be found jumping from service to service. For the most part, each music streaming app offers a similar number of songs spread across a broad range of genres, and though they may have some minor feature differences, the experience is at least mostly the same regardless of which service you choose.
That’s no longer true, though. With the launch of Alexa in Amazon Music, Amazon can make its service stand out just a little bit more from the crowd. Spotify is big on its own discovery playlist, and it’s little wonder why. Discovery is the name of the game with these streaming services, because once they’re a resource for finding new music in addition to listening to music you already love, you keep coming back for more.
Alexa makes discovery more carefree than even Spotify’s best efforts. If you don’t know precisely the kind of music you want to listen to, you can just tell Alexa “play me something with a good beat,” and listen to what she has to offer. You don’t need to browse through a playlist Spotify has generated for you – just tell Alexa to play the type of music you feel like listening to and see where she takes you.
Of course, this is a good move for Amazon as well, as it could turn a number of Music subscribers onto the benefits of having Alexa around. In turn, that could translate to more Echo sales for Amazon, expanding Alexa’s presence in the smart home space even further. Amazon Music users will have to buy an Echo device if they want the full Alexa experience too, since Skills won’t be available with this Music implementation.
One has to wonder what Spotify does to top all of this. Google Assistant operates similarly to Alexa on Android devices, while iOS users obviously have Siri. That leaves Spotify without an AI assistant of its own, and that could be a major disadvantage as more and more people start using them.