Alexa Cast lets you control speakers through your smartphone

Alexa Cast

Amazon is finding ever more ways to expand Alexa’s functionality. This time, it's giving the Amazon Music app a welcome update with the new Alexa Cast feature.

As of July 26, anyone with an Amazon Echo or similarly Alexa-enabled device will be able to control music playback through the Amazon Music smartphone app, on either iOS or Android.

The 'Now Playing' viewpane on the app should now appear with an Alexa Cast icon, which will bring up a list of nearby Alexa speakers to cast your music to.

It'll be a welcome addition if you want more control over how you interact with Amazon’s music streaming service, allowing you to navigate playback via the app when you're beyond earshot of Alexa’s microphone, or simply want to give your voice a rest without interrupting a listening session. 

If you're listening to a playlist or track on the way home, you'll be able to pick up exactly where you left off when you arrive – and you'll be able to use the app functions and voice controls interchangeably too.

Amazon Prime Members automatically have access to Prime Music, with a selection of two million songs, while the Music Unlimited service offers a wider library of tens of millions of tracks for $7.99/£3.99/AU$11.99 per month.

Play that funky music

While Amazon’s music streaming platforms still lag behind the user numbers of Spotify or Apple Music, the retailer is making strides by truly integrating its smart home and music services.

Amazon Music was built from the ground up to incorporate voice control alongside Alexa, with in-house algorithms that let you browse its library via genre, mood, or a host of other adjectives. If you forget the name of a song, you can even sing part of the chorus and have Alexa scour through its database of lyrics to find the correct track.

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.