Alexa gets time-based music controls

Ever since the announcement of Apple’s HomePod, Amazon’s been on the music offensive for Alexa. The company improved the sound quality on the baseline Echo and has been working to add control over Amazon Music over the past year and change. Today, it announces a bunch of new features for US and UK subscribers designed to engage with playback in ways that go beyond just asking Alexa to serve up a specific song or artist.

The two biggest additions on that front are the ability to chose music based on the last time you listened. So you can ask the assistant to “play me a Hold Steady song I heard last month” or “Alexa, play music that I was listening to earlier today.”

The selection is designed to make engaging with the company’s music service more compelling. Amazon Music certainly hasn’t managed the same sort of broad appeal as Spotify or Apple Music, and the company isn’t quite as music platform agnostic as Google’s Home devices, which offers a selection of several different third-party music services on setup. 

That said, music will become an increasingly key part of the company’s Alexa play as more and more companies like Sony and Sonos continue to add the smart assistant to their own speakers. The feature will also be available through the Android and iOS version of the assistant.