It’s often assumed that you can’t make money from any ‘skills’ (the smart-speaker equivalent of apps) for voice assistants like Alexa. Actually, Amazon launched a feature called ‘in-skill purchasing’ in the US last year to enable exactly that. Now the feature is expanding globally, starting with the UK, Germany and Japan.
“Soon, developers from around the world will be able to build premium skill experiences with localized content that is relevant for customers across different countries, languages and currencies,” wrote Amazon’s senior product marketing manager Metty Fisseha in a blog post. This means people making Alexa skills in those countries will be able to sell “one-time purchases or entitlements, subscriptions, and consumables” within their products. “Premium content can include anything from hints in a trivia skill, expansion packs in an adventure game, a monthly subscription to premium features, and more,” wrote Fisseha.
Music game Beat The Intro is already using the ‘ISP’ feature: it offers a monthly subscription with more songs and no restrictions on how many times people can play every day. So, the ability to sell in-skill purchases will soon be live in the four biggest recorded-music markets in the world. There’s definitely scope here for labels and music startups alike to experiment with Alexa as a transactional medium, rather than just a promotional one.