Amazon has made its Music Skill API generally available in the Alexa Skills Kit. This API is meant for music service providers, such as Spotify or Pandora, and allows them to add their music service to Alexa-powered devices. Once connected, subscribers will be able to ask for their tunes by voice.
Smart speakers have seen swift adoption across the U.S. The most recent data from Nielsen suggests about 25% of U.S. households own at least one smart speaker. Of those, some 40% own more than one smart speaker. Those numbers include devices powered by Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri, and Google's Assistant. About 62% of respondents to Nielsen's study said they'd purchased their smart speaker in the last six months, and 45% of owners intend to buy another in the next six months.
The number one activity enjoyed by those millions of device owners? You guess it, listening to music. Nielsen says 90% of smart speaker owners use them primarily for music, with weather/traffic following at 81%, factual searches at 75%, and news broadcasts at 75%.
Many of today's most popular music services have already made sure their platform's are compatible with Amazon Echo and other Alexa-powered speakers and devices. People who own an Alexa-powered device can enjoy Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and of course Amazon Prime Music. If you're a small provider, but want the visibility provided by Amazon's platform, the Music Skill API is for you.
Amazon says the Music Skill API gives music service provides "self-service access to the Alexa capabilities you need to enable customers to search your catalog via voice, and stream their choices to Amazon Echo and other Alexa-compatible devices."
The voice-based user interface is already built by Amazon, so it's not a worry. Amazon says developers need only provide their music catalog metadata to Amazon on a regular basis. Amazon handles the back-end integration, updating the Alexa voice model and syntax that's required of listeners.
Once the music service skill is published in the Alexa skills market, customers can enable it via their Alexa app and then use the “Alexa, play songs by <artist> from <your music service>" command to begin listening.
Amazon says customers will be able to stream to any Amazon Echo or Alexa-enabled device. Amazon's own Echo devices will support multi-room playback. Customers can even tap the music catalog for alarms.
Service providers remain in control. They can set skip limits, enable stream protection, and monitor and improve the performance of the skill over time thanks to metrics provided by Amazon.