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Spotify Is Getting Its Own Wake Word for Voice Commands

The new wake phrase feature only works when the screen has been turned on and the Spotify app is open.

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Spotify is introducing its own wake word to let customers control music playback hands-free with voice commands.

“Hey Spotify” Is Now a Thing

According to GSM Arena, which first spotted the new feature, saying aloud the wake phrase “Hey Spotify” will do the trick. Simply state your request after the wake phrase in terms of an artist, album, or song you’d like to listen to. For instance, you could be saying “Hey Spotify, play the Beatles,” “Hey Spotify, play my favorite songs” and so forth.

The new feature must be manually turned on in the Spotify settings.

“Hey Spotify” is now being officially rolled out to Spotify customers around the world so check back later if you don’t see the new feature yet. For those wondering, “Hey Spotify” is available on compatible smart speakers and the mobile Spotify app for iOS and Android.

Related: How to Download Music From Spotify to Your Phone

Users are being informed about the new feature via a Spotify notification along with an in-app splash screen which helps them set up and use the wake phrase.

However, there are some downsides to this feature.

Spotify’s Wake Word: Privacy and More

Unlike Google’s and Apple’s assistants which are baked into the bowels of the operating systems, Spotify is just an app that must behave like a good citizen on iOS and Android—no always-on listening and no deep OS integration like with Google Assistant and Siri.

In fact, the following conditions must be met to use the Spotify wake word:

  • The screen of your mobile device needs to be turned on.
  • The Spotify app must be running.
  • You must grant Spotify permission to access your device’s microphone.

People who are concerned about their privacy are recommended to read the fine print because “Hey Spotify” requires that the software continuously listen for the wake word—that’s why the app must be kept open and the screen of your device turned on.

Related: Tips and Tricks for Managing Your Spotify Playlists

According to Spotify, the feature only uploads recordings of the wake word followed by your voice request. “Audio will only be recorded after we hear ‘Hey Spotify’,” clarifies a prompt in the app. “Your voice input and other information will be sent to Spotify.”

A Cool Accessibility Feature

Clearly, “Hey Spotify” isn’t a replacement for your existing voice assistant. Rather, it’s one of those useful accessibility features that will appeal to people with vision or motor issues who can now use their voice to control music playback on Spotify.

Spotify can also be used via an external voice assistant like Google Assistant and Siri, but many people are totally oblivious to that feature. Perhaps having its own wake phrase will make Spotify customers use the app’s built-in voice search more frequently.

Image Credit: kenary820/Shutterstock

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