How to Customize Amazon Music with Alexa – Lifehacker


Image: Amazon

Alexa has long been able to respond to requests for specific music genres, moods, and playlists. Now, she can also help you curate and personalize said playlists and remember your preferences for the future.

Amazon is launching new features for Amazon Music users that allow for more natural back-and-forth conversations with Alexa. Where you were previously limited to basic commands (“Alexa, play holiday music”), you can now use Alexa to help you narrow down your selections.

For example, if you say, “Alexa, help me find a holiday playlist,” she may respond with, “We’ll be rocking around the Christmas tree. Any vibe in particular? Mellow? Or maybe upbeat?”

From there, Alexa can respond to your natural language. So you can say, “Mellow,” and she’ll pick a playlist and ask you something like, “Will that work?” If you say no, she’ll try again.

For now, users have to start these conversations with “Alexa, help me find…” but Amazon expects to add “Alexa, recommend…” and “Alexa, what should I play?” to her repertoire.

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Once you’ve landed on a playlist, you can also curate based on songs you do and don’t like. Phrases like “Alexa, I like this song” and “Alexa, I don’t like this” act like Pandora’s thumbs up/thumbs down feature. Alexa will remember previously liked, often listened-to, and favorited songs and pull from them when you say, “Alexa, play music I like.”

These new features only work with Amazon Music—Prime Music and Amazon Music Unlimited—so if you prefer Spotify or another subscription music service, you’ll have to stick with more targeted commands. You must be a U.S. customer on an Echo device or Amazon Music app.

Alexa does have another almost-human quality when it comes to music: She may put on her “mom” hat and push back on your requests. For example, if you ask her to launch an NSFW playlist, she may say, “This playlist may contain explicit lyrics. Prefer not to hear explicit lyrics?” To which you can respond, “Alexa, block explicit lyrics.” Or not.

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