Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Siri won’t play Spotify tunes on Apple’s new HomePod | UNLIMITED | CMU

Apple Homepod

While Alexa is more than happy to play any old nonsense from your Spotify library – if you really insist – Siri thinks Spotify is a big fat bunch of shit and won’t sully herself by streaming dumb tunes that originate within that monumental fuck fest. Not my words ladies and gentlemen, but the words of Siri herself. By which, I mean, Apple isn’t allowing other music apps to integrate with Siri on its new HomePod device.

As previously reported, Apple is getting ready to go head-to-head with Amazon and Google in a bid to own the about-to-boom voice-activated-internet-connected-box-that-does-useful-stuff market, or the VAICBTDUS market for short. Like both Amazon’s Echo and the Google Home device, Apple’s HomePod will do an assortment of things whenever you shout orders at it, including playing some tunes, if only to drown out all the shouting.

Both Amazon and Google have their own streaming platforms to push, of course, and so their respective voice-activated devices default to their own services. And that’s provides an opportunity for both web giants to grow their proprietary music set-ups, with Amazon – in particular – potentially primed to become a significant player in the streaming music market on the back of its activity in this space.

However, both companies have allowed the likes of Spotify to also fully integrate with their devices. So that, if you the user so chooses, they can say “hey Alexa” or “hey Google” and have music play on Spotify rather than Amazon Music Unlimited or Google Play Music.

Apple’s HomePod pushes its music playing abilities to the fore, with the higher audio quality of its in-built speaker one of the justifications for the device being more expensive than the Echo or Google Home. But if you want to listen to your music by shouting “hey Siri”, you’ll only be able to stream tracks from Apple Music.

Apple yesterday posted an update for third party developers on how to get their apps working with Siri on its soon-to-launch HomePod device. However, initially HomePod Siri integration will only be available to apps that provide services classified as messaging, lists and notes. Which excludes rather a lot, including – of course – Apple’s biggest rival in the streaming music business, Spotify.

This isn’t an especially surprising development, given that apps which compete with Apple Music can’t integrate with Siri on other Apple devices. And, as noted, Apple more than its competitors plans to push HomePod as a music player, but only an Apple Music player. Indeed, in its update for developers Apple describes the HomePod as “the powerful speaker that sounds amazing … and provides instant access to Apple Music”.

For its part, Apple stresses – to you, me and any anti-trust lawyers reading – that other music apps can play on the HomePod, they just won’t be integrated with Siri, meaning you’ll control the app via an iPad or iPhone using the Airplay feature, as you would with other wireless speakers. Though given that voice control is at the heart of these new devices, the “fuck you Spotify” from Siri is arguably significant.

Of course, making it less convenient for users to use their streaming service of choice on your new device is a gamble – will it make your own streaming platform more attractive or your already-more-expensive VAICBTDUS device less attractive? We’ll see, I guess.

Asked about the confirmation from Apple that Siri integration won’t be available to third party music services on HomePod, for now at least, a spokesperson for Spotify told Business Insider: “We are always working to have Spotify available across all platforms, but we don’t have any further information to share at this time”.

Elsewhere in Spotify news, according to a recent Companies House filing, Spotify’s UK business saw subscription and advertising revenues rise in 2016, while the number of monthly active users rose to 7.1 million, of which 2.8 million were paying subscribers. Which is quite a lot of users. “Fuck them all to hell”, said Siri in a statement last night.

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