It’s time to remember another new prompt for talking with your gadgets – this time, “Hey Spotify” for interacting with the music streaming smartphone app.
Instead of being a full-fledged voice assistant like Siri and Alexa, here we have a way to control the Spotify app without touching your phone and having another assistant do it for you.
Rumors of Spotify voice control first surfaced in March 2020, after a voice search feature was launched in 2019. Now the feature has started arriving on handsets for some uses. GSMArena reports how the Hey Spotify wake-up call arrived on one of their Samsung Galaxy S21s this week.
Landing via a notification in the Spotify app, the wake word works the same as Alexa in the Alexa app. As such, the Spotfy app must be running and your smartphone must be unlocked. You basically need Spotify on the screen all the time.
The app then opens your smartphone’s microphone and keeps it open until it hears the wake-up word “Hey Spotify”. After that, you can ask the streaming app to play the music you want by naming an artist. Before the function is activated, the Spotify app will ask for permission to record and transcribe the audio heard after hearing you say “Hey Spotify”. In an effort to assuage privacy concerns, the app also states, “Audio will only be recorded after hearing ‘Hey Spotify’. Your voice input and other information will be sent to Spotify. “
Naturally, the most obvious use case for this feature is to drive with your smartphone in a cradle and play music with the Spotify app open.
While convenient, however, there isn’t currently much incentive to use this feature in place of the voice assistant you normally communicate with. Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant can all be used to play music through Spotify.
New feature makes more sense when streaming music in the cariStock
But the potential here is interesting. This may well pave the way for Spotify to finally launch its long-awaited first hardware products, which could include a device for playing music in the car. Such a product has been rumored for years and has already been recognized by Spotify as Car Thing. In January 2021 an FCC deposit by Spotify included a new hardware device described as a “voice-activated Spotify phone / app accessory with compatible display and buttons”. It is then described later in the record as “the main car unit.” Powered by a 12 V socket ”.
This suggests that Spotify is considering launching a car head unit that uses its music streaming service and would potentially replace the driver’s need to use their car’s own music system.
Considering the new Hey Spotify feature, we would expect this to appear on the head unit as well, if it ever actually launches as a product Spotify users can purchase. With new cars increasingly offering easy application integration through systems like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, we believe this is a device (intended for cars that don’t have such a system) that Spotify should launch as soon as possible.
The Hey Spotify activation word comes just a month after the addition of “Hey Facebook” as a way to control smart home devices through the social network’s smart display Portal.