8/11/17 Alexa Fast Tips Friday

Welcome to LME’s 8/11/17 Alexa Fast Tips Friday. You may have heard some of these before, but I hope you learn at least one new thing here each week. This time, it’s all about the music.

Please note: not being in the UK myself I can’t test any of these tips for UK Alexa users. If the functionality isn’t there yet, it should be coming to you soon.


Oldies Station


Amazon’s engineers are constantly adding small improvements you may not have heard about. Here are some new commands that let you request music in all kinds of interesting and useful ways.

Remember that requests for specific songs, artists, genres, or music from specific time periods will only work if you have access to the requested music through either My Music Library, Prime Music (which also includes Amazon Music stations), or Amazon Music Unlimited. So far, Alexa’s been able to play everything I’ve requested and most of it has come from Amazon Music stations—via my Prime membership I assume, because I don’t subscribe to Amazon Music Unlimited.

Note that when using the commands below if you want to specify a source for the music (Prime Music, Amazon Music Unlimited, My Music Library), just add “from [source]” at the end of the command.


1. Play what’s new and popular.

Alexa, play popular [artist] songs.

Alexa, play the most popular [artist] [album/song].

Alexa, play the [new/latest] [artist] song.

Alexa, play the song I just bought.


2. Play it by year.

Alexa, play the top [artist/genre] songs from [year].

Alexa, play the top [artist/genre] songs from the [decade, e.g. sixties, seventies, nineties].

Alexa, play [decade] [artist/genre] music.

Alexa, play popular [artist/genre] from last year.

Alexa, play [artist/genre] from the [decade].

Alexa, play [artist/genre] from [year] to [year].
This one’s great for programming your own personal flashback lunch hour, or weekend. Try your favorite genre from high school or college, and ask for it from the year before you graduated to two years after you graduated. You’ll be pleasantly surprised when old favorites you’d forgotten start to play. Ah, the good old days; this is definitely my new favorite way to listen to music!


3. Play it by mood.

Alexa, play [happy/sad/angry] [genre] songs.

Alexa, play the song that goes [lyric fragment].

Alexa, play some [activity] music.
Try dancing, study, workout, relaxing, road trip, or cooking.


4. Something in the playback you don’t much care for? No problem!
You can skip a song with the, “Alexa, skip,” command.


5. Get the scoop on what you’re hearing.

Alexa, what is this?

Alexa, who is this?

Alexa, what song is this?

Alexa, who is this artist?

Alexa, when did this song/album come out?


6. Echo Show owners / Fire TV users: make it a karaoke party.
Lyrics will display where available by default on Fire TV. On the Show, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and toggle the Lyrics option on. You won’t get lyrics for every song, but the selection is pretty wide (you can even get the original, German language lyrics for Nena’s 99 Luftballoons!) and it’s easy enough to skip through those you can’t sing along to.


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