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Amazon added the ability for users to access its Alexa voice assistant directly from the Amazon Music app on iOS and Android yesterday.

Consumers can now ask Alexa to play music by requesting a song title, genre, era, or even certain lyrics directly from the app, regardless of whether they own an Alexa-powered smart speaker from the Echo line.

With the update, Amazon Music users will also be able to ask Alexa for the weather, news, and sports scores, but won’t be able to access Skills (voice apps for Alexa-powered devices).

Previously, Echo owners could use Alexa to play music from the Amazon Music app, but users without one of these devices had to search for songs with the in-app search bar. The new feature is available in the US, UK, Germany, and Austria. 

The integration of Alexa could help boost Amazon Music subscribers for several reasons:

  • It helps the company differentiate from music streaming leaders Spotify and Apple Music. Spotify, which boasts over 60 million subscribers, doesn’t have a native voice assistant; and Apple Music, which has nearly 27 million subscribers, only has voice-control functionality on iOS (not on Android). Alexa, meanwhile, topped mobile devices as the main way Amazon Music users listen earlier in 2017, according to the Wall Street JournalAdditionally, playing music is one of the main activities consumers regularly use their smart speakers for, which can imply playing music hands-free is a positive user experience.  
  • In-app music discoverability becomes much easier, as Alexa can find songs to play for users. Users can just say “play a top hit from the 90s” or “play workout music,” or simply mention lyrics to a song they don’t know the name of, and Alexa will pull it up. This type of functionality is one of the big reasons Amazon’s Echo has attracted Amazon Music subscribers, according to the Wall Street Journal, and the Amazon Music app may see increased engagement from existing users with this added functionality. 

The introduction of Alexa to the Amazon Music app might also help the company sell more Echo devices. The update gives Amazon Music listeners who do not have an Echo a chance to test out and become acquainted with Alexa’s functionality. Getting to know Alexa through the music app could make users curious about the voice assistant’s Echo-only capabilities, potentially driving higher sales for Amazon.

Smart speakers — Amazon’s Echo, for example — are the latest device category poised to take a chunk of our increasingly digital lives. These devices are made primarily for the home and execute a user’s voice commands via an integrated digital assistant. These digital assistants can play music, answer questions, and control other devices within a user’s home, among other things. 

The central question for this new product category is not when they will take off, but which devices will rise to the top. To answer this question, BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, surveyed our leading-edge consumer panel, gathering exclusive data on Amazon’s recently released Echo Show and Echo Look, as well as Apple’s HomePod. 

Peter Newman, research analyst for BI Intelligence, has put together a Smart Speaker report that analyzes the market potential of the Echo Look, Echo Show, and HomePod. Using exclusive survey data, this report evaluates each device’s potential for adoption based on four criteria: awareness, excitement, usefulness, and purchase intent. Finally, the report draws some inferences from our data about the direction the smart speaker market could take from here.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Amazon’s new Echo Show is the big winner — it has mass-market appeal and looks like it will take off. The combination of usefulness and excitement will drive consumers to buy the Echo Show. The Echo Look, though, seems like it will struggle to attract that same level of interest.
  • Apple’s HomePod looks likely to find a place in the smart speaker market but won’t dominate its space like the iPhone or iPad did.
  • The smart speaker market will evolve rapidly in the next few years, with more devices featuring screens, a variety of more focused products emerging, and eventually, the voice assistant moving beyond the smart speaker.

In full, the report:

  • Showcases exclusive survey data on initial consumer reactions to the Echo Look, Echo Show, and HomePod.
  • Highlights the aims and strategies of major players in the smart speaker market.
  • Provides analysis on the direction this nascent market will take and the opportunity for companies considering a move into the space.

To get the full report, subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you’ll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >>Learn More Now

You can also purchase and download the full report from our research store.

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