To get started, you will first need to fire up the Amazon Alexa app and create a group that contains two or more Echo devices. So, if you have an Echo in the kitchen and one in the den, you can create a group called “Downstairs”, for example. Afterwards, you can simply say “Alexa, play Dave Matthews Band downstairs”, and music will play from both speakers, fully synchronized so that you should have to worry about “echo” effects.
Amazon says that this feature is currently enabled for Amazon Music, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and Pandora. It will soon be supported via Spotify and SiriusXM.
To further enhance the experience, Amazon also announced the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) Multi-Room Music SDK, which will allow device makers to integrate their Alexa-backed hardware with Multi-Room Music. For example. Amazon says that you could link up three Echo speakers with two AVS speakers to play music simultaneously across all five devices without issue.
Amazon also announced the Connected Speaker API, which allows Alexa-enabled devices like the Echo dot to control music on “connected” audio systems from leading manufactures like Sonos, Bose, Sound United, and Samsung.
“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,” said said Antoine Leblond, VP of Software, Sonos. “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.’”
Amazon is by far the most dominant player when it comes to smart AI speakers thanks to Alexa, and it is doing its best to extend that lead. However, it will soon gain new competition from Apple with its HomePod and Samsung has confirmed that it is working on its on smart speaker (likely powered by Bixby). And we can’t forget that Google is making a run at Amazon with the Google Home.