Alexa and Apple are playing nice. Amazon’s Echo smart speakers will work with Apple Music starting December 17, Amazon announced Friday.
If you have an Apple Music account and have connected it to your smart speaker in the Alexa app, the speakers will be able to play music on demand. Just say, for instance, “Alexa, play Baby Shark on Apple Music.”
Apple’s $9.99 a month music subscription service will join Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Amazon’s own music service, and other options on Alexa devices. Apple is careful about access to its services outside of its own ecosystem, especially when it’s on a device that competes with an Apple product — in this case, the HomePod.
The agreement is the latest sign of good relations between the two companies. It comes two weeks after Amazon announced it was working with Apple to carry the latter’s newest products. As part of that deal, Amazon agreed to prohibit unauthorized third-parties from selling Apple goods on its site, a deal that angered some independent sellers and iPhone repair companies.
Apple and Amazon are still competitors, however. Amazon will still not sell the HomePod smart speaker, sticking to its own Echo offerings instead. And you cannot access Amazon Music through Siri on the HomePod at this time.
Spotify will likely be the most impacted by the addition, as it offers a similar service for the same price. Unlike most of the other music options, including Spotify, there is no free tier of Apple Music, but you can get a three month free demo period.
Gartner analyst Werner Goertz says Apple Music coming to Alexa products is another example of digital services being consumed through a variety of products, brands and categories.
Since their launch in 2015, smart speakers have added many new features, like the ability to order a pizza or play games, but the ability to listen to music is still the most popular feature on the devices, according to an Adobe Analytics survey. The company tracked 1000 smart speaker users and found that 70% used the devices for music. The second most popular activity was checking the weather.
Since it was released in February, the $349 HomePod has struggled with middling reviews, a high price, and limited features. It doesn’t support as many third-party services as Amazon’s Echo.
“Although HomePod, with its current pricing and feature set, is not as prevalent as Amazon Echo devices or Google Home devices, I wouldn’t consider the fact that Apple Music can be delivered by Alexa as a sign of surrender,” said Goertz.