Alexa always chooses obscure cover versions of titles

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Alexa always chooses obscure cover versions of titles

DaveAmes12
Regular

The main way that I use Spotify is requesting music by Alexa voice control. Unfortunately I have an extremely annoying problem with it: If I request a song by title, Alexa+Spotify usually chooses the most obscure possible cover version instead of the popular version of the title (e.g., how would you like to hear the bagpipes-only version of that popular rock ballad from the 90s?). Ok, usually I can stop it and make a more specific request by artist (assuming I remember the artist name correctly), but even then I may get an obscure live version instead of the popular version. This is unlike using the Spotify app or web player, where it lists the versions of the title in order of popularity. I can't find any way to override this behavior, and I'm finding it so frustrating that's going to end up driving me to a different music service when my Spotify subscription runs out.

 

I haven't had any luck finding a solution in the Amazon/Alexa forums. Has anyone here got any suggestions about how to fix this?

31 Replies

Jemi
Spotify Legend

Hey @DaveAmes12, help's here.

 

There's a similar issue described here. We suggest that you vote and add a comment there. We're still investigating this and will come back as soon as there are updates.

 

Cheers!

DaveAmes12
Regular

Thanks, it is the same issue, in that case with Google Home. But I have both Google Home and Alexa, so I can compare what they come up with when a song title is requested from Spotify, and I can tell you that the issue is much worse with Alexa.

Peter
Spotify Legend

Hey @DaveAmes12.

 

We noticed you posted in the thread - thanks for doing that.

 

We'll pass on that information to the right team and let you know as soon as we have any updates.

 

Take care!

DaveAmes12
Regular

Here's an example of how awful Alexa is with Spotify:

 

"Alexa, play Radio Ga Ga by Queen" (official song name is 3 words)

Ans: "I can't find Radio Gaga on Spotify"

"Alexa, play Radio... Ga... Ga by" (cut off)

Ans: "Playing Radio Gaga by Electric Six from Spotify"

"Alexa, play Radio.. Ga.. Ga by Queen" (a little faster)

Ans: "Playing Radio Ga Ga by Queen from Spotify"

"Hey Google, play Radio Gaga"

Ans: "Ok, playing Radio Gaga by Queen on Spotify" (plays Queen version)

 

 

Peter
Spotify Legend

Hey @DaveAmes12.

 

Thanks for letting us know.

 

Could you make sure that the device was bought and set to the same country, and that your Amazon account is also set to that country?

 

Looking forward to hearing back from you!

 

DaveAmes12
Regular

Yes it is.

It's not that Alexa and Spotify can't find and play the correct version if I'm specific enough. For example, the top version of Radio Ga Ga by Queen on Spotify is the " - Remastered" version. If I say "Alexa, play Radio Ga Ga Remastered", it gets the right version as long (as I leave a brief pause in Ga Ga so that it gets the space). Spotify search does require the space between Ga Ga.

By comparison Google Home doesn't need me to be so specific to play titles from Spotify. If I say "Hey Google, play Radio GaGa", it also gets the top Remastered version by Queen, and it doesn't need me to sound out the space in Ga Ga according to the transcript.

Peter
Spotify Legend

Hey @DaveAmes12.

 

Thanks for getting back to us and for giving us that feedback.

 

Alexa-enabled devices and Google Home devices have different voice commands for Spotify. You can compare the differences between Alexa and GH here and here respectively.

 

With regard to the discrepancies, we've passed on the feedback to the relevant team. We'll let you know as soon as we have any updates on this.

 

Hope that helps! Let us know if you have any other questions.

jacksonelam
Newbie

I get this ALL THE TIME.  I tried "Alexa, play Stairway to Heaven" and it gives me some random non-lyrical cover version of it.  I tried "Alexa, play Over the Rainbow" and it gave me some random non-lyrical cover version of it.  It's REALLY annoying.  I feel like there are some songs that you OBVIOUSLY want the original, most-popular version.  I want the Led Zeppelin version.  I want the Judy Garland version.  This almost renders using Alexa untenable.  

Bwatl
Visitor

I have this same issue all the time as well.  Either Alexa can’t find the song I request (even though it is a very popular song that I know Spotify has) or she plays some obscure live or instrumental version.  It is very frustrating and somehow feels deliberate because if I give Alexa the exact same command but request it from Amazon Music, it invariably has no trouble finding the title and plays the most popular version I am looking for.  I have no idea how the voice coding might apply differently between the two services, but the same voice commands often produce much better results when requesting through Amazon Music as opposed to Spotify even when I know Spotify has the right version.

mark2923
Casual Listener

Using spotify on Alexa is hopless. Its often better to ask for the request on Amazon Music. Here's some classics
Alexa "Play Bohemian Rhapsody"
Playing "Bohemian Rhapsdody by Panic at the disco"

Alex " Play Imagine"
Playing "Imagine by Ariana Grande" (so technically a differnt song, but as this one of the most famous songes ever!)
Both work correctly when requested on Amazon Music.

mark2923
Casual Listener

I notice you still haven't fixed" Stairway to heaven" from a post in the this thread from months ago, I'll give you clue. Its by Led Zeppelin! 

 

Guess what, works correctly on Amazon Music...

alexworden
Regular

I suspect that either... 

 

Spotify is doing this because they pay pennys less to play an obscure cover version

 

or

 

Amazon is doing it to encourage you to pay for their music service instead of Spotify

 

Either way, this is Spotify's problem to solve so I'm quitting Spotify and going elsewhere. It's a shame that "Amazon Music Unlimited" is actually very very limited and keeps removing songs from their library to maximise their profits. 

 

Next to try... Google Play or Apple Music. Neither of them work with all my Alexa devices so I'll be ditching them also. 

 

PhillM
Visitor

Alexa play she bangs

  - Playing she bands by William Hung

Alexa play she bangs by Ricky Martin

  - Playing she bangs Spanish version by Ricky Martin

Alexa play she bangs English version by Ricky Martin

- Playing she bangs Spanish version by Ricky Martin

 

Damn llama

 

Also I couldn't get her to play Prince to save my life one day, she preferred some Prince Royce I'd never heard of. 

alexworden
Regular

Update... after playing with Amazon, Apple, and Tidal, I'm back to Spotify. They suck the least of a bad lot of options. Alexa seems to have started working better with Spotify and is playing obscure versions less frequently thankfully. 

 

Also - the other services have nothing that comes close to Spotify's Daily Mixes that are awesome for playing songs you know, songs you like, and sometimes songs you like that you don't know! I wish they'd support likes and dislikes and adding to playlists from Alexa. 

 

So... I'm back with Spotify due to them being the best of a bad lot. 

gpgaal
Casual Listener

Meanwhile, over a year later...

Robbiej
Newbie
Yep still a massive issue.

Asking alexa to play smooth criminal, what would be the guess, the Michael Jackson version with over 248 million plays or some terrible rock version with 176 million plays? The terrible one of course.

This happens for so many songs it must be deliberate.

Tallhall89
Visitor

Infuriated by this issue daily.


Our toddler loves Bicycle Race by Queen so he requests to listen 2-10+ times per day.

 

”Alexa, play Bicycle Race by Queen” will randomly either play the correct track, or about 50% of the time plays a cover by “Dream Queen.” Sometimes we have to repeat the same exact voice command 7 times to get Alexa to play the correct track by Queen... other times it plays the correct track on the first go.

 

The Alexa app confirms it is hearing the same voice command, but randomly giving different results.

 

I’ve also experienced this with another band... clearly stated the correct song name and band and it started playing a karaoke track (same music, no lyrics)... this should never be played unless someone requests it! The title of the track clearly indicates it was a karaoke track— why would your algorithm prioritize it over the correct track with the same name.

 

 

Blanikboy
Visitor
Haha I'm here looking at this thread because I also had the issue while trying to play smooth criminal. The rock version sucks!

migueldei
Casual Listener
It may be solved for Google devices (which I don't know), but for Alexa, it's over a year, and still happening.
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