Alexa now works in Amazon Music on iPhone and Android

Move over Siri: Alexa takes charge of your tunes in the music streaming app.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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Spotify rival Amazon Music streams music on various devices. Now you can use Alexa to chose your next track. 


You can now use Alexa to choose your next track in Amazon Music, no matter what kind of phone you have.

Amazon's voice-controlled personal assistant Alexa will be built into the Amazon Music streaming app for iOS and Android in the UK, US, Germany and Austria.

The app gives you access to Amazon Music Unlimited, a rival to Spotify and other streaming services. Alexa adds the ability to search with your voice, using more natural and organic questions than what you might type into a search box. 

"We find people search differently with the search box and with their voice," explains UK head of Amazon Music Paul Firth. "If I was talking to someone, I wouldn't say have you heard 'Up All Night' by Beck, I'd say 'Have you heard the new Beck song?'"

Alexa's understanding of natural language gives you the option to say things like "play the new song by..." or "play the song that goes...", and Alexa will play the relevant tune (if they're in the Amazon Music or Music Unlimited catalogues). You can even narrow it down by saying something like "Play Oasis from the 90s" -- or be more general and say "Play classic rock for cardio."

You also get other Alexa functions such as the weather, news and sports scores, as well as jokey responses to pop culture references. But you don't get access to third-party services, known as Skills.

People are already talking to their phones while driving or while they're in the home, but not everyone is comfortable chatting with their phone in public. "People have loud telephone conversations on the train, so why not?" counters Firth. "My son probably would, without even thinking about it."

Originally found in Amazon's own Echo family of smart home speakers and hubs, Alexa is increasingly finding its way into other devices. It's built into Android phones such as the Moto X4 and is available in the Amazon shopping app for iPhone users.

To get Alexa choosing tracks on your phone, update the Amazon Music app and give it permission to access your microphone. There's still a search box in the app if you want to type, but you'll find an Alexa button on each screen too. Tap the button to get Alexa's attention and you're ready to go.

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