A few months ago, Amazon rolled out one of the larger feature updates for Alexa speakers to date: Routines. This lets you automate lights and other connected devices on a schedule, or lump multiple commands into one. "Alexa, good night" could be programmed to turn off smart bulbs around the house, lock the door, set a specific temperature and more, for example. Routines further cement Alexa as the brains of the smart home.
Routines came with a couple caveats though. First, you could only control smart bulbs and a handful of other devices. (They've since been updated to support more.) The bigger drawback, though, was the lack of music streaming.
Music alarms were a step in the right direction. But not being able to say, "Alexa, set the mood" and having the lights dim and calm music play felt like a huge missed opportunity.
Fortunately, that's about to change.
Starting Tuesday, Alexa Routines will support music playback. You can add music from an artist, album, playlist or radio station from your preferred music streaming service, including Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, SAAVN, Deezer and TuneIn.
The best part? You can also set an action to change the volume level for the routine so you won't be waking up to a playlist at full blast.
Here are some examples of how you can work music into your routines:
- "Alexa, good morning" can turn on the lights around the house, raise the temperature, play the news and weather, followed by your favorite morning playlist.
- A morning alarm routine could also be set to perform the above actions at a set time each weekday.
- "Alexa, game night" might set the mood with dim, funky colored lights and play some light background music for your family (or friend) game night.
- "Alexa, good night" could turn off all the lights, lock up the doors, lower the temperature and play relaxing or nature sounds on your bedside Alexa speaker.
- A kid's bedtime routine can dim the lights in the kid's bedroom, turn off their TV and play a song that lets them know it's time to go to sleep.
To add music to a routine, open the Alexa app on Android or iOS and select Routines from the left menu. Select an existing routine or tap the plus sign in the upper right corner to create a new one. Tap the plus sign next to Add action and select Music. Type in the name of a song, artist, album or playlist under Play and select a provider under On. Tap Add to create the action.
To set the volume of a routine, tap Add action again and select Volume from the list. Drag the slider to the desired volume and tap Next, followed by Add. Hold on the on-screen handle to the left of the volume action and drag it to the top of the list.