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Launch of Apple Music Worldwide on Alexa, Amazon Echo and Fire TV Devices Outside US


Apple Music , the music and video streaming service of the Cupertino company, integrates with the speakers with Amazon's voice assistant Alexa, including Amazon Echo speakers thanks to the official ' Apple Music ' skill available from the week of December 17, 2018, initially only in the United States . An important innovation, considering that Apple Music was first available on smart speakers only on Sonos and Apple HomePod (which is not for sale in Italy). Apple Music is not available on Google Home, nor is it compatible with Google Cast technology. And starting March 14, 2019, Apple Music is now also available on Amazon Fire TV, Amazon's platform for televisions, set-top boxes and HDMI keys. Also in this case the support is currently limited only in the USA, where it is now possible to ask Alexa to listen to music from Apple Music via Fire TV, in streaming.

The integration of Appla Music with Alexa was officially announced by Amazon via Alexa's blog a few weeks after its debut: "Music has always been one of Alexa's most popular features and today we are pleased to announce that Apple Music will be available on Echo devices starting from the week of December 17 [2018] ".

The integration of Apple Music with Alexa is available only in the United States and not in all countries where Alexa and Apple Music are available, including Italy. The same happened with  TIDAL, arrived on Amazon Echo  only in the USA (but destined to arrive soon in other countries too). Apple Music should soon be available through Alexa also in the UK .

"Music is one of the most popular features on Alexa: since we launched Alexa four years ago, customers are listening to more music in their homes than ever before," said Dave Limp, senior vice president of Amazon Devices. "We are committed to offering great music suppliers to our customers and since the launch of the Music Skill API to developers only last month we have expanded the music selection on Alexa to include even more high-level services. We are excited to bring Apple Music one of the most popular music services in the United States, to Echo's customers for the upcoming holidays. "

Subscribers to Apple Music in the United States can thus listen to the entire catalog of 50 million songs from Apple Music on all Echo and Fire TV devices, as well as on the smart speakers that integrate Alexa. Apple Music customers can ask Alexa to play their favorite songs, artists and albums or playlists created by Apple Music publishers around the world, covering many activities and moods. Apple Music subscribers can also ask Alexa to stream specialized radio stations on popular genres such as Hip-Hop, decades like the 80s and even popular music from around the world, like K-Pop. It's still,

In the Amazon Alexa blog it has been reported that Alexa users appreciate the simplicity and ease of asking Alexa for the content they want to hear, things that have brought more music into their homes. It turns out that users ask Alexa to play all kinds of music in many different languages, stream tens of millions of radio hours a month and set tens of millions of music alarms since the feature was launched a little more a year ago. 

Activate Apple Music with Alexa .
From the week of December 17, 2018, in the United States you can enable Apple Music on your Amazon Alexa account by accessing the Amazon Alexa app on your mobile or in a browser, then searching the skill store for the 'Apple Music' skill (or you can find it in the category 'musical skills') and pressing on 'Activate' to start the configuration that requires the insertion of username and password of your Apple Music account to be connected to Alexa. It is then possible to set 'Apple Music' as the default music streaming service in the music preferences in the Alexa app: in this way when you ask Alexa for the music to be played it is not necessary to specify 'from Apple Music' every time at the end of the phrase.

Apple Music works with Alexa only if an Apple Music subscription is active: the monthly cost is 9.99 euros per month for a single account, while the 'family' subscription costs 14.99 euros for up to six accounts; students can take advantage of a 50% discount by paying € 4.99 a month. If you have never subscribed to Apple Music, the first three months are free, after which you can continue your subscription or deactivate the service.

What Apple is Doing to improve Apple Music Playlists



Apple hires artists to make Playlist covers on Apple Music. The change will take place in the coming months.

Apple has always been attentive to the smallest details of the graphical interface of its operating system and within its apps. Apparently he is trying, albeit quietly, to visually improve Apple Music, hiring artists to create covers for music playlists, so as to make the music service even more unique.

Although Apple Music is not (yet) a record label, the company's goal is to create iconic covers for their playlists, so that they are instantly recognizable, already visually. This is why the company has recruited several artists, such as the creator of the iconic AC / DC logo.

Before today, Apple's playlists have enjoyed a uniform presentation, not necessarily related to the type of music of the songs contained within the individual lists. With custom covers, instead, you will have a visual representation of the music that the user will find within that playlist. This is the thought of Rachel Newman, head of Apple publishing.

The graphic novelty explainsTheVerge will be launched over the next few months. The company plans to redesign several thousand covers, while currently it would have been able to redesign only hundreds of covers. This shows how over the years Apple has not lost that attention to detail, which is also necessary to compete in a field such as streaming music, where rivals are not lacking, Spotify above all.

Among the artists who will work on the new covers also the Macedonian Italian Stole "Moab" Stojmenov, graphic designer who designed the cover for the Migos Culture album, and which for Apple will take care of the album "Hits Hip Hop".

I wonder if Apple will announce these graphic changes already on March 25th , on the occasion of the much talked about event in which it will also present its new services for publishing and video streaming.


The Future of Apple Music on Google Home



No compatibility for Apple Music on Google Home: the appearance of the streaming service on the app is due to a software bug.

The hopes for the integration of Apple Music in Google Home and, consequently, with the speakers compatible with the service have already been extinguished . The same Big G confirms it: the appearance of the streaming service within the application, found by some users a few days ago, is derived from a software bug .

The story is now well known: a few days ago, some readers of MacRumors found support for Apple Music within the Google Home application , leaving room for various speculations. Many thought that Apple could have made deals with Big G to enable its streaming service to more extensive commands than the current ones in Google Assistant or, again, integration with third-party speakers. In fact, it seems to have been a software error, as specified by Bloomberg:

In detail, a bug would have superimposed the current Google Assistant settings on those of Google Home, making Apple Music mistakenly appear within this latter application. Big G seems to have already solved the problem, reiterating a note already released in the past:

In any case, it is more than obvious that Cupertino is pursuing an expansion policy for its music streaming service. Last December, for example, was launched full compatibility with Alexa the Amazon , as well as the possibility of playing on the speakers of the Echo line. Consequently, it is not excluded that in the future the support can also be guaranteed to all speakers managed by Google Home. All that remains is to wait, consequently, for any updates from the Apple Park company, as well as from the rival - and perhaps future music partner - Google.

Spotify and Apple what is going on with the revenue issue: the question and answer


Spotify opposes the commissions imposed by Apple and submits a complaint to the EU Antitrust Authority. The Cupertino company did not wait for his response.

The relationship between Spotify and Apple is quite tense. The music streaming giant has in fact accused the Cupertino company of abusing its control in the App Store before the EU Antitrust. How? Encouraging Apple Music and damaging rivals including Spotify .

The words of CEO Daniel Ek show that Spotify does not accept that Apple retain 30% of revenues from subscriptions subscribed through the App Store. This tax, said Ek, seems to have been designed to damage the streaming services that compete with Apple Music.

The CEO of Spotify therefore explains that with his Apple policy he would push users to switch to Apple Music , leveraging a more accessible subscription. But are there alternatives?

Spotify therefore asked Apple to be treated in the same way as many other apps on the Appe Store, such as Uber or Deliveroo, which are not subject to the Cupertino company fee and which are not damaged by the same restrictions .

Apple responds to the Spotify allegations
The Apple's response was not long in coming, and it arrived with a long and detailed press release .

The Cupertino giant, to protect its image, responded point by point to the Spotify accusation. On the commission and the alleged limitations Apple declares:

Apple, in the final part of its press release, underlines how important its contribution to Spotify's growth has been over the years:

Spotify to Apple: "monopolist!"
The question and answer between the two parties has now been enriched with a new chapter, the Spotify replica of the Apple press release reported by Variety :

The clash between Spotify and Apple seems to be far from over. But who will come out the winner and what will the decision of the EU Antitrust be? And in the case of Apple's debacle, will there be consequences for its management of the App Store?


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 Related article:

One of the most requested features by Apple Music users is Handoff support, which would allow you to start playing a song on Mac and continue listening to it on iPhone (or vice versa) without interruption. To overcome this lack, from today you can download the PlayOff app for iOS and macOS. MOR 101.9 Manila

PlayOff does all this thanks to a client for Mac that can be downloaded for free from the Mac App Store and its app for iOS, available on the App Store for € 2.29 . The app uses the Bluetooth connection and Apple's MusicKit framework to share Apple Music music playback between an iPhone and a Mac .

Once PlayOff is installed on both devices, you will need to perform a simple pairing procedure. Once this is completed, you can use the PlayOff app on iOS to continue playing a song immediately from your Mac . The app also works the other way around, allowing you to continue playing a song from your iPhone on your Mac. DJ Chacha on MOR 101.9

However, there are some limitations on PlayOff, such as the fact that iPhone and Mac must be within Bluetooth range in order to take advantage of the Handoff function. However, this is a fairly relative limit, given that most of the time the user will be near the desk when he needs to transfer the song from Mac to iPhone or vice versa.

For the rest, PlayOff works perfectly and fills one of the gaps in Apple Music. Always listen to DJ Chacha on MOR 101.9

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