Amazon Echo Expands Voice Control to Spotify and Pandora

Dave Zatz —  January 30, 2015

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While our home has hosted a pair of Amazon Echo ($99-199) connected-speakers-with-benefits for several weeks, I’ve yet to write much. As my thoughts continue to coalesce, Amazon just hit me with news of an update. Joining the existing I Heart Radio and Amazon Prime voice-controlled apps are Spotify, Pandora, and iTunes. However, whereas I Heart Radio and and Prime Music are native apps that live solely within Echo and the cloud, these newcomers stream to Echo via a Bluetooth-connected iPhone or Android. The addition of voice for transport controls is surely nice-to-have, but it’s not in the same league by requiring another device in the mix and without being able to verbally summon a specific artist or playlist as I do with Prime Heart.

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23 responses to Amazon Echo Expands Voice Control to Spotify and Pandora

  1. Very exciting. cannot wait for some home automation features.

  2. If only this thing had a Zigbee chip inside… it’d make perfect sense to serve double duty as a home automation hub. Of course, it still could handle many of those tasks via other means. Works with Nest anyone?

  3. Ah, so maybe this isn’t quite as cool as I thought. The apps are paired via Bluetooth, it’s only the addition of voice for transport controls. Better than a sharp stick in the eye. But I want more native apps that don’t require a phone in the mix.

    https://twitter.com/jfinkelstein/status/561306474316431360

    I’ve tweaked the article after receiving Jeff’s tweet and testing Pandora.

  4. Better than nothing I guess. Commands for fire tv would be great too.

  5. So, if it is only using the standard bluetooth pause, play, previous, and next that other devices use (like Jambox or car bluetooth) it should really work with many other audio apps, like Google Play Music. Correct?

  6. A million silos. Yay!

    (The most likely alternative would be one big proprietary silo. Double yay! Of course, an open standard would actually be nice, but so would a pony.)

  7. Probably not going to work with Nest. Amazon and Google services don’t get along to well.

  8. PS let me know if you want to sell an echo.

  9. Scott, yeah Google may not be their best strategic partnership. Point is they can work with 3rd party stuff and without necessarily housing a Zigbee chip. But the idea is certainly appealing and Amazon is a very interesting company to watch as they evolve in unexpected ways beyond online sales. I won’t even hold it against them that their government cloud computing business out here ignored my resume like a year ago. ;)

    Don’t plan to sell either Echo. Not yet, anyway. But can I interest you in a lightly used Fitbit Charge?

  10. So…you want a Chumby you can talk to…

  11. Would be nice if they would enable a book reading feature.

  12. So when I received my Echo in mid January I wondered if I could use Spotify and iTunes on my phone and the help documentation said yes, that is have to pair my iPhone or other iOS device and then use the control on the device.

    All this is adding is the ability to use a voice command for play stop or skip. Nothing too earth shattering, yet.

  13. I wish it would handle Pandora natively. I don’t have my cell near my Echo. I do have a second Echo on the way which could be linked to my Nexus 7. But the new Pandora app doesn’t seem to work with Android 5.0.2 on my Nexus 7.

  14. How are you all getting a second echo?

  15. O-Qua Tangin Wann February 1, 2015 at 4:03 am

    I received my Echo and was disappointed it does not have some basic features Siri has, such as being able to ask it for:

    Sports scores, schedules, odds, etc.

    Stock quotes.

    Built-in Shazam-like song recognition (their Amazon Fire Phone has it, and again, you can ask Siri to name that tune).

    I hope eventually Amazon will add the above features and make this as great as Siri is on the iPhone.

  16. I tried out several other streaming options, google play works fine. I can connect, play, skip tracks. I also tried out connecting my surface pro, worked perfect. They work the same way as Pandora.

    As background, I have had the echo since launch. It is good device for the kitchen, den, etc. The speaker is good for a Bluetooth speaker. I have uploaded my music to the amazon music service, and with that and prime music the selection is very good. Well worth $99.

  17. “How are you all getting a second echo?”

    Just find an appropriate canyon or valley, and it’s easy! Yell loudly, and not only can you get a second echo, but sometimes even a third or fourth echo.

  18. Dave, no thanks on the Charge. Charge HR peaked my interest a bit, but not the charge.

  19. I actually have had one from early December. It has always been able to access Amy Amazon much library as well as Prime music, it also accesses in tune radio stations as well as I heart radio. The Echo answers questions at least as good as Siri and sounds more human like. It keeps shopping and to do lists synced on all devices running the app ( android and ios ). It also tells lame but sometimes funny jokes. Most of the comments here are from people who have no direct knowledge or experience.

  20. I got my second Echo from ebay

  21. @Patrick: “Would be nice if they would enable a book reading feature.”

    Adding audiobooks to my “music” library works pretty well for me, though not being able to set bookmarks or go to a particular “page” is still kind of a PITA.

  22. @Dave Zatz: I didn’t get this message from Amazon! Do you have some sort of inside connection?

  23. No inside connection, I have no interaction with their PR groups or project folks. Maybe they didn’t send to everyone or maybe you missed it (in spam)?