I have been messing about with a few voice assistant hub including the Amazon Echo.
One feature of these devices is the ability to ask them to play music, either an individual track, an album, an artist, a playlist or even just a genre or decade.
If I ask Alexa to play a particular song, she delves not just into my personal music collection on the Amazon Music app but also what is available through my Prime subscription. If the song isn’t available I could either subscribe to Amazon Music streaming service, or purchase the song. The Alexa ecosystem is built around my Amazon account and the services available to me as a Prime subscriber.
What Alexa doesn’t know that I have quite a large music collection on iTunes. She can’t see it, access it or play it.
With Google Home I have connected a free Spotify account to it. This is one of the key features of these devices that you can connect services you already subscribe to, so you can control them via voice. Of course the reason I have a free Spotify account is that Google Home would much prefer I was connected to Google Music, and it certainly won’t let me connect to either my home iTunes library (where virtually all my music is) nor to Amazon Music. So when I ask Google Home to play a particular music track, she gets annoyed and says that she can’t as that is only available on Spotify Premium. Now Amazon Echo can play from Spotify, so some overlap there.
This is one of the challenges of these devices that they are quite reliant on subscriptions to other services. Apple’s HomePod only really works if you have an Apple Music subscription. You can stream Spotify to the Homepod using AirPlay, but you couldn’t use voice control to say “Hey Siri, play my favourite Spotify playlist”. That wouldn’t work.
So at the moment my main focus is on the Amazon Echo and linking it into Amazon Music through my Prime subscription.
I like the concept of voice control and for many features these devices work well, but they do tie you into their ecosystems.