Amazon today has announced a new feature that allows users to play, synchronize, and control music playback across multiple Echo devices with support for voice commands. The news comes ahead of Apple’s HomePod launch in December and Sonos likely unveiling a new smart speaker in October. Amazon has also announced new tools for developers.

In a press release, Amazon detailed its new multi-room audio playback feature for Echo devices with a variety of music services supported and more coming soon:

You can now synchronize your music playback across Echo devices to play songs from Amazon Music, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and Pandora, with support for Spotify and SiriusXM coming soon. Simply use the Alexa App to create groups with two or more Echo devices by naming the group, such as “downstairs.” Once you’ve created the group, simply say “Alexa, play John Mayer downstairs.”

Amazon also has new resources coming for developers with its Alexa Voice Service Multi-Room Music SDK and Connected Speaker APIs. These tools are slated to be released early next year. The press release includes statements from Sonos, Samsung, and more companies that will be integrating Alexa in their products.

Sonos’ VP of software Antoine Leblond references the Hi-Fi speaker maker as “Amazon’s first multi-room partner” in the announcement:

“This has been a close collaboration from the beginning as we’ve worked together to combine the magic of Alexa with the seamless multi-room audio capabilities that Sonos pioneered. We’re proud of the work we’ve done together as Amazon’s first multi-room partner – all you’ll need is an Alexa-enabled device and playing music out loud on Sonos will be as easy as saying ‘Alexa, play music in the living room.’”

Sonos has an announcement coming on October 4th, where the company is expected to unveil its first smart speaker. At this point Alexa voice support is most likely, although Sonos states on an Instagram post that it is “actively working” on AirPlay 2 thanks to performance improvements.

Apple announced AirPlay 2 with multi-room support and control from the Home app at WWDC, along with some new social feature for Apple Music and the MusicKit API. AirPlay 2 also comes to Apple TV with tvOS 11.

As the competition for smart speakers is ramping up, Apple is betting on customer loyalty with its closed ecosystem. Apple Music users will want to stick with Siri enabled devices and will likely opt for the upcoming HomePod and devices that will work with AirPlay 2.

Amazon, however, has an advantage with the work it’s put in with third-parties that enables customers to make their existing speakers smart for as little as $30-$45. Check out our recent hands-on with the most affordable way to bring Alexa to your home, Eufy’s Genie.

It’s also expected that Amazon’s next speaker will bring higher audio quality to better compete directly with Apple’s HomePod. Although unlikely, Amazon’s VP of devices, David Limp has shared this past summer that he hopes Alexa and Siri will be able to talk to each other.

New multi-room music feature lets you group multiple Amazon Echo devices for synchronized music streaming in every room

New Alexa developer tools extend multi-room audio to other connected speakers and audio systems

SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Aug. 29, 2017– (NASDAQ: AMZN)—Amazon today announced an all-new Alexa feature that lets you control and synchronize music across multiple Amazon Echo devices in your home. Starting today, you can target music to a specific Echo device or a group of devices—just ask. Soon, this ability will be extended to control multi-room music on other connected speakers using simply your voice.

“In just the last few months, we’ve added dozens of new features to Alexa that enhance your entertainment experience—control of Amazon Fire TV and your home entertainment systems via Echo; music lyrics, Amazon Video, and movie trailers on Echo Show; and activity-based music searches—and we’re just getting started,” said Toni Reid, Vice President, Amazon Alexa. “Today, we’re making Alexa even smarter with an all-new feature that lets you play music synchronized on multiple Echo devices to provide room-filling music throughout your home.”

Multi-Room Music on Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show

You can now synchronize your music playback across Echo devices to play songs from Amazon Music, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and Pandora, with support for Spotify and SiriusXM coming soon. Simply use the Alexa App to create groups with two or more Echo devices by naming the group, such as “downstairs.” Once you’ve created the group, simply say “Alexa, play John Mayer downstairs.”

Customers in the US, UK, and Germany can start using multi-room music today on their Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show devices.

New Tools Let Device Makers Create Additional Voice-Controlled Music Experiences with Alexa

Amazon also announced two new sets of tools for developers to bring multi-room music control to their speakers.

Alexa Voice Service (AVS) Multi-Room Music SDK

Amazon is introducing new tools that enable AVS device makers to integrate with Amazon Alexa Multi-Room Music. Doing so will allow customers to play their music across supported Echo and AVS devices—for example, a customer with three Echo devices and two standalone AVS speakers can play synchronized music across all five devices. These tools will be available early next year.

Connected Speaker APIs

These new tools enable device makers with connected audio systems to control music playback using Alexa. A customer can then use any Alexa-enabled device – for example an Echo Dot – to play music throughout their home on their connected audio systems. Amazon is excited to be working with leading brands on this offering, including Sonos, Bose, Sound United, and Samsung.

“Alexa set the standard for voice in smart homes, so working with Amazon to bring voice control to Sonos for the first time was an obvious choice,” said Antoine Leblond, VP of Software, Sonos. “This has been a close collaboration from the beginning as we’ve worked together to combine the magic of Alexa with the seamless multi-room audio capabilities that Sonos pioneered. We’re proud of the work we’ve done together as Amazon’s first multi-room partner – all you’ll need is an Alexa-enabled device and playing music out loud on Sonos will be as easy as saying ‘Alexa, play music in the living room.’”

“Sound United is constantly striving to provide consumers with the best possible user experience. With AI voice services simplifying how we control our home environments and products, we’re excited Denon, Marantz, and HEOS customers will be some of the first to experience Alexa multi-room audio compatibility and the power of voice control,” said Kevin Duffy, CEO and president, Sound United. “Soon, users will be able to play their favorite song, alter the volume, or change an input in any room where our connected products are placed, simply by asking Alexa to do so.”

“We’re thrilled to integrate Alexa multi-room audio with Samsung speakers,” said Jun Young Kim, Vice President of AV Business Team, Samsung. “With Alexa multi-room audio and Samsung, customers will simply be able to ask Alexa to play their favorite music in any room of the house – using only their voice. Listening to great music on Samsung speakers has never been easier.”

The Connected Speaker APIs are available in developer preview starting today.

Device makers can learn more about the new AVS developer tools here.

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