Amazon Echo Gains Support for Multi-Room Music Playback

by

Amazon today added a new Alexa feature that allows several Amazon Echo devices to be synchronized and controlled across multiple rooms in a home. Echo owners can now target music to a specific Echo device or play the same music on more than one Echo.

The feature works with a variety of music services, including Amazon Music, TuneIn, iHeartRatio, and Pandora, with support for Spotify and SiriusXM coming soon. To use multi-room support, users will need to use the Alexa app to create groups with two or more Echo devices, giving the group a name like "downstairs." Once the group is enabled, commands like "Alexa, play John Mayer downstairs" will work.

"In just the last few months, we've added dozens of new features to Alexa that enhance your entertainment experience--control of Amazon Fire TV and your home entertainment systems via Echo; music lyrics, Amazon Video, and movie trailers on Echo Show; and activity-based music searches--and we're just getting started," said Toni Reid, Vice President, Amazon Alexa. "Today, we're making Alexa even smarter with an all-new feature that lets you play music synchronized on multiple Echo devices to provide room-filling music throughout your home."

Amazon's move to add support for multiple Echo devices comes as Apple prepares to launch both the HomePod and an AirPlay 2 protocol. Multiple HomePod devices can be used simultaneously, and with AirPlay 2, speakers that support the feature can be paired together for a whole-home music experience.

Multi-room music support is available for the Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show in the United States, UK, and Germany starting today. Amazon says it plans to extend the ability allow users to control multi-room music on other connected speakers with just a voice command through a new Multi-Room Music SDK that device makers can build into their speakers. Amazon plans to work with brands like Sonos, Bose, Sound United, and Samsung, and some of these manufacturers are also working to support AirPlay 2 in future devices.

In other Echo-related news, the original Amazon Echo is out of stock on Amazon.com, fueling speculation that a new device launch is imminent. Rumors have suggested Amazon is working on a new version of the Echo that's designed to better compete with Apple's upcoming HomePod. The new Echo device is said to feature improved sound quality, better microphone technology, and a new design.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
39 months ago

There are plenty of Echo devices prominently displayed at Whole Foods Market in San Rafael, CA. The original Echo's there are half price ($99), and the Dots are also discounted.

It's a little jarring, this marriage of WFM and Amazon. Electronics are not what I expect to see at Whole Foods.

Well get use to it or find a new market. I don't mean to sound crass but, unfortunately that's the way it will be from now on at Wholefoods. Hey, you BBQing this weekend? Can I get an Amazon burger?

Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
39 months ago
This is pretty nice, and it works with dot - so I can voice control my stereo when I get around to hooking it up. I wish it worked with Apple Music/iTunes.

Amazon has one-upped Apple in this. iTunes can only stream to one device on iOS, even though multi-destination has been in the iTunes Mac app forever. Even though I can use the remote app, using alexa really would be more convenient.

This shows that whomever architected Alexa/etc was pretty good. Their development model has been really successful, and even though they didn't hit it out of the park with the 1.0 release they've now leading the field.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
39 months ago

The execution will likely compare two a couple tin cups with a string connecting them. Those echos don’t have the best speakers to begin with.

It's good enough. Anyone that cares about hi-fi isn't going to be streaming low quality digital from the cloud.

Let's put it this way: you aren't going to put magneplaner's in your kitchen.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
39 months ago
Plans to work with them. The echo sonos partnership was organized by the Half-Life team.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
39 months ago

It's good enough. Anyone that cares about hi-fi isn't going to be streaming low quality digital from the cloud.

Let's put it this way: you aren't going to put magneplaner's in your kitchen.

True, but I suspect people will chain together dots as it’s cheaper with no forethought. It doesn’t have to be the extremes that are the only options.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
39 months ago
Great news. I just jumped aboard team Alexa/Echo a couple months ago. And I did so with the expectation that multiroom support was coming soon. I got 2 dots and an Echo for a combined $150 (I think), which sufficiently covers my entire home. I’m no audiophile, but it works great for me at less than half the cost of the HomePod
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iPhone Maker Foxconn Says China's 'Days as the World's Factory Are Done'

Wednesday August 12, 2020 7:55 am PDT by
China will no longer be the world's manufacturing epicenter going forward, according to Apple's largest supply chain partner Foxconn, which has been gradually expanding its operations in other countries amid the U.S.-China trade war. "No matter if it's India, Southeast Asia or the Americas, there will be a manufacturing ecosystem in each," said Foxconn chairman Young Liu, according to Bloombe...

Leaker Jon Prosser: Apple Watch and iPad Launching in September, iPhone 12 Event to Take Place in October

Wednesday August 12, 2020 4:31 pm PDT by
Apple last month confirmed that this year's iPhone 12 models will launch outside of their normal September timeframe and will be "available a few weeks later," which has led to speculation about when an event might be held. Leaker Jon Prosser, who sometimes shares accurate knowledge of Apple's plans, today said that Apple will hold its iPhone 12 event during the week of October 12, with...

Apple Takes Legal Action Against Small Company With Pear Logo

Saturday August 8, 2020 11:09 am PDT by
Apple is taking legal action against the developers of the app "Prepear" due to its logo, according to iPhone in Canada. Prepear is an app that helps users discover recipes, plan meals, make lists, and arrange grocery deliveries. The app is a spinoff of "Super Healthy Kids," and the founders claim that they are facing litigation from Apple. Apple reportedly takes issue with Prepear's logo, ...

Apple to Launch Bundled Subscription Services Called 'Apple One'

Thursday August 13, 2020 3:41 am PDT by
Apple will launch a new range of subscription service bundles called "Apple One" as soon as October, according to a new report by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The series of bundles would allow customers to subscribe to several Apple digital services together. This is expected to result in a lower monthly price than when the services are subscribed to individually. Bloomberg reports that the...

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 13.6.1 With Fix for Storage Issue and Green Tinted Displays

Wednesday August 12, 2020 1:31 pm PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 13.6.1, minor updates that come a month after the release of the iOS 13.6 update with Car Keys and Audio Apple News+ stories. The iOS and ‌iPadOS‌ 13.6.1 updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to Settings > General > Software Update. iOS 13.6.1 addresses an issue that could cause...

Apple May Release 4G-Only iPhone 12 in Early 2021

Tuesday August 11, 2020 5:28 am PDT by
In a research note shared by Business Insider, Wedbush Securities analysts said that Apple may release a cheaper iPhone 12 in early 2021 with no 5G connectivity. Wedbush initially believed Apple would launch a mix of 4G and 5G iPhone 12 models this fall. Following re-examination of Asian supply chains, analysts Daniel Ives, Strecker Backe, and Ahmad Khalil revised the predictions,...

Apple Removes Fortnite From App Store [Update: Epic Files Lawsuit Against Apple]

Thursday August 13, 2020 11:58 am PDT by
Just hours after Epic Games introduced a new direct payment option for Fortnite that skirts Apple's in-app purchase rules, Apple has pulled the Fortnite app from the App Store. Fortnite is no longer available for download on the iPhone or the iPad, and Apple provided a statement to MacRumors on Fortnite's removal:Today, Epic Games took the unfortunate step of violating the App Store...

iPad Pro Keyboard Comparison: Logitech's $160 Folio Touch vs. Apple's $300 Magic Keyboard

Tuesday August 11, 2020 2:11 pm PDT by
Logitech recently debuted the Folio Touch, a keyboard and trackpad case designed for the 11-inch iPad Pro that serves as an alternative to the Magic Keyboard. In our latest YouTube video, we compare the $160 Folio Touch to Apple's $300 Magic Keyboard to see which is better. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Logitech is selling the Folio Touch for $160, while Apple's...

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.6 Supplemental Update With Virtualization Bug Fix

Wednesday August 12, 2020 1:20 pm PDT by
Apple today released a supplemental update for macOS Catalina 10.15.6, with the update coming a month after the original launch of macOS Catalina 10.15.6. The ‌‌macOS Catalina‌‌ 10.15.6 Supplemental Update can be downloaded from the Mac App Store using the Update feature in the System Preferences app. According to Apple's release notes, the update fixes a problem that could cause...

Kuo: Global iPhone Shipments Could Decline Up to 30% If Apple Forced to Remove WeChat From App Store [Updated x2]

Sunday August 9, 2020 10:17 pm PDT by
In a worst-case scenario, Apple's annual global iPhone shipments could decline by 25–30% if it is forced to remove WeChat from its App Stores around the world, according to a new research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo viewed by MacRumors. The removal could occur due to a recent executive order aiming to ban U.S. transactions with WeChat and its parent company Tencent. Kuo lays out...