By John Patrick Pullen
August 4, 2017

Having a seemingly endless library of music within finger’s reach isn’t all it’s cracked up to be—you tend to only to listen to the same old songs.

But Amazon, always looking for ways to make its Alexa voice assistant feel more natural, may have come up with a good solution for streaming music’s discovery problem. Yesterday the e-commerce giant rolled out a new “activities” feature on Prime Music and Amazon Music Unlimited so that people can say things like “Alexa, play baby making jazz music,” and get sexy saxophone riffs to listen to in response.

Similar to theme-based, curated Spotify and Apple Music playlists, Amazon Alexa’s take lets users put in their digital D.J. requests via voice. The feature currently plays playlists for more than 500 distinct “activity utterances” including cooking, running, throwing a dinner party, and even sleeping.

For example, users can say things like:

  • “Alexa, play classic rock music for a dinner party.”
  • “Alexa, play hooking up music.”
  • “Alexa, play classical music for sleeping.”
  • “Alexa, play music for getting pumped.”

Amazon says meditation is the most requested activity on its Alexa platform, which is used to control the Echo line of products and third-party devices like thermostats and home intercoms. And more than 25% of the requests of musical requests made are for various kinds of de-stressing sounds.

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Amazon Alexa plays music via users’ Amazon Prime Music or Amazon Music Unlimited accounts. However, Echo products can also be configured to default to Spotify for songs instead. In testing, the new activities feature also worked with Spotify’s library.

This story was updated on Aug. 7 to correct the name of Amazon’s music streaming services.

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