New Alexa format drops users into exclusive U2 broadcast
- Alexa, Amazon's voice-based assistant, is exploring a new format that enables users to drop into a special radio broadcast ahead of rock band U2's latest album release, according to a press release from the e-commerce giant.
- Prime or Amazon Music Unlimited members in the U.S. and U.K. can tune in and hear the band's music, history and exclusive interviews through the digital assistant with the voice command "Alexa, play the U2 Experience" from Nov. 29 to when the "Songs of Experience" album drops on Dec. 1.
- The one-time broadcast is also available to users of Amazon Music's mobile app and web player in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Austria, and listeners will be dropped in wherever the audio broadcast is in progress.
In the crowded music-streaming space where some have focused on visually enhanced interfaces or even artist-sponsored merchandise, Amazon is focusing on voice-based media and machine learning to appeal to consumers' shifting preferences and explore newer mobile tools like Echo devices and Alexa.
Billed as a "new type of radio," per the release, the one-time U2 broadcast is easily accessible through the new Alexa format, just one of Alexa's many new skills. Amazon recently announced that it will let developers interact with Alexa users more directly through notifications of fresh content like breaking news and weather alerts. Developers will also soon be able to personalize content based on users' individual voices.
Expanding beyond its voice-controlled hardware has long been part of Amazon's strategy for Alexa, which is available for third-party software that brands can leverage to connect with consumers in new ways. RBC Capital Markets projected that Alexa could bring in $10 billion in revenue by 2020 with the potential to be a "mega-hit," as it's recently been tapped for voice-based shopping and paid subscription skills. The ongoing expansion of capabilities demonstrate Amazon's focus on lowering the barriers between voice-based tech and users.
The e-commerce giant is also banking on Alexa and Echo devices to stand out among its music-streaming competitors. Instead of taking the route of Spotify and Pandora with visual-friendly smartphone interfaces, Amazon has focused on voice-controlled devices, hailing them as a "new chapter in streaming music."
Through machine learning, Amazon is configuring all the different ways users may ask Alexa or Echo for music, including by artist name, song title or parts of lyrics. Users can now also ask for playlists based on activities, mood or era.
- Amazon via Business Wire Amazon Music and legendary rock band U2 redefine broadcast listening with launch of the U2 Experience
- U2 official website 'Alexa, play the U2 Experience'