amazon echo

amazon echo

Well, that didn’t take long.  Starting in mid-December, Amazon Echo devices will now be able to stream songs from Apple Music. When I say that it didn’t take long, you have to realize that Apple announced the development of the HomePod in 2017.  That might seem like a long time, but not that long when you think about how they’ve basically abandoned this product.  What is also interesting is that Amazon has had its own music service for quite some time, but they seem to have given up on being a competitor in that space.  Which means, this marriage kind of makes sense.  I mean, a lot of people use Apple Music, and a lot of people have Amazon devices, so why exclude the two?

The new skill lets users play specifics songs, genres, playlists, and the Beats 1 station through the smart speakers. Adding Apple Music will help the popular smart home products tap into a rapidly growing service. Apple Music hit the 50 million subscriber mark this year, and while that’s great, they’re still miles behind Spotify who has around 83 million subscribers.  All of that said, this should give Amazon a leg up on Google’s Home devices, especially in the United States where most of Apple Music subscribers reside.

I should clarify – Apple hasn’t actually given up on the HomePod, but it kind of feels that way.  They are still selling HomePods for $349.  Which is well above the cost of a device from either Google or Amazon.  And with this new functionality, it makes you wonder how long it will be before they give up the HomePod completely?

In a statement, Amazon is saying that streaming music is “one of the most popular features” on its Alexa virtual assistant.

Music has always been one of Alexa’s most popular features and today we’re excited to announce that Apple Music will be available on Echo devices beginning the week of December 17.

Customers will be able to ask Alexa to play their favorite songs, artists, and albums—or any of the playlists made by Apple Music’s editors from around the world, covering many activities and moods. Customers will also be able to ask Alexa to stream expert-made radio stations centered on popular genres like Hip-Hop, decades like the 80s, and even music from around the world, like K-Pop. Just ask Alexa to play Beats 1 to hear Apple Music’s global livestream including in-depth artist interviews— all completely ad-free.

The other interesting piece of information is that this is being added as an Alexa skill.  Once this becomes available, you will need to add the Apple Music skill in the Alexa app and then link your Apple Music account.  The decision by Apple to allow this feature is another indication of the increasing importance of this particular service’s revenue is to the company.  Meaning – Apple seems to care more about selling Apple Music subscriptions than it cares about HomePods.  Hence my earlier statement – how long until they abandon it completely?