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Amazon unveils a host of new features for Alexa voice assistant


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Big things are afoot with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant: more than 50 new features unveiled yesterday at a conference for Alexa developers.

There is a full roundup here on Amazon’s developer blog, but among the important additions are paid skills, where people pay an upfront fee to start using an Alexa skill – its equivalent of apps. Previously, in-skill purchases were possible, but not upfront payments.

There is also a new ‘Amazon Music Spotlight’ feature, where artists can upload a voice message that fans will be able to listen to via Alexa or the Amazon Music app.

There is also something called ‘interactive media skill components’, which Amazon says will “shorten the time it takes for radio, podcast and music providers to launch interactive experiences on Alexa”. There is also a ‘song request skill component’ that will make radio-style requests possible.

There’s more in the blog post, with plenty to dig into for any labels or artist teams considering building skills for musicians – and, of course, making money from them.

Stuart Dredge

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