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Can I get Alexa to play my own music?

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Can I get Alexa to play my own music?
« on: March 05, 2017, 07:28:54 am »
Hi,

First post, having just received gift of ECHO Dot from one of my sons. Have set it up and Alexa is answering simple questions such as
"What's the weather today?" and "What's the capital of Germany?", etc.

After some very brief googling I fear a disappointing answer, but I'll ask anyway. Can I now move on and get my existing MP3 files played by Alexa at my request? ("Alexa, play Jailhouse Rock by Elvis Presley".) Or is the only way via a subscription service like Amazon Prime?

Terry, East Grinstead, UK


Re: Can I get Alexa to play my own music?
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2017, 07:35:02 am »
You can pair your Dot by bluetooth to your smart device and play your collection from there.

Re: Can I get Alexa to play my own music?
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2017, 07:42:41 am »
You can pair your Dot by bluetooth to your smart device and play your collection from there.

Thanks strayfish, appreciate the fast reply.

But my 10,000 tracks are on my PC upstairs, and the DOT is in the lounge. I could (and occasionally do) copy some across to my iPad and I can play them from that, anywhere, with no DOT needed. I was hoping to do so via Alexa in the way I described.

Terry, East Grinstead, UK

Re: Can I get Alexa to play my own music?
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2017, 08:40:11 am »
I'm not sure if this is possible because I've never needed to do it, but I think I've heard you can pair your Dot with a bluetooth-enabled PC. If that's the case and yours is enabled, you could probably play your collection on your Dot that way, and the Dot speaker is, to my ears, better than that of an iPad. I'm not sure how much voice control you'd have over it though.

Re: Can I get Alexa to play my own music?
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2017, 09:03:43 am »
Amazon will let you upload your music to your account cloud. You then have access to it.

Also, if it isn't working already, www.plex.tv has a Alexa skill and will stream your audio or video library. Works great to stream movies from your server to a video device like a roku or to fire stick.

Re: Can I get Alexa to play my own music?
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2017, 02:13:18 pm »
Terry,

Forget the Dot for a moment, and let's talk about the iPad.  You don't need to copy music to it to play it on pad.  You could have been using bluetooth all along to send/stream and play music to it.  Figure this out, and it is the same principle of using BT to send to Dot, OR if you have the right equipment and network setup and apps you could deliver you music to lots of different devices via wireless or BT. 
All my media files are on a NAS server connected to my network; my preferred way is to send music directly to my stereo via gadgets plugged into it, or for portability, to a decent BT speaker.  The LAST place I want to send music to is the Dots, because the speakers ar low quality, only suitable for voice i.e. Alexa's.

Your best course of action is to get a quality BT speaker and use it (not Dot) to listen to your streamed music.  In fact, you should have had a BT speaker a long time ago.

Re: Can I get Alexa to play my own music?
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2017, 04:37:16 am »
Thanks all, much appreciate the further advice.

Mike: That's particularly interesting and I'll explore a similar DOT-free approach.

I guess I was influenced while staying with my son and family in Carlsbad, California at Christmas. I'm a gadget lover and he's plainly developed the trait too. Glass of wine in hand, being able to say "Alexa, play me some Frank Sinatra music" has great appeal to me! Even if I know I could acomplish the same end result by a few taps on my iPad or iPhone.  :)

Terry, East Grinstead, UK

Offline Jerome

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Re: Can I get Alexa to play my own music?
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2017, 08:50:37 am »
Amazon will let you upload your music to your account cloud. You then have access to it.
Indeed you can upload up to 250 songs for free on your Amazon Cloud
https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201562930
Or pay a subscription to allow up to 250 000 songs.

(NB : personally I've never been able to vocally invoke one of my 'personal' track/playlist on that cloud through my Echo but that's another story)
1 Echo (1st gen) - 2 Echo Dots (2nd gen) - 1 Google Home Mini | in France

Re: Can I get Alexa to play my own music?
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2017, 01:08:28 pm »
Terry,
>>>   say "Alexa, play me some Frank Sinatra music"

You can do this now; Alexa has playlists of all the famous artists.

Offline Jez

Re: Can I get Alexa to play my own music?
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2017, 03:37:39 pm »
Hi Terry,
I'm with you all the way on the music side. I've got a collection of over 700 music videos where these have been cropped from TV home recordings. Dating back to the 50's 60's 70s' etc

Firstly I bought an old supermarket touch screen you can get them for around 50, I wrote a small PC app that presented all of the tracks on the touch screen broken down by era. Touch any number of them and they all stack up and start playing across several large TV's around the house absolutely magic with headphones on whilst playing pool and having the vids in the background.

It is also possible to get Alexa to select any of them to play as well I've just got the Echo and Dot to send content to any screen in the house, specifically to a particular screen for one task and a different screen for another. I can send the touch screen to tablets and phones through Alexa so that you then just touch to select whatever you want to play. I'm about to upload a new update within the next few days .... I believe Mike was looking at this but not sure if he gave any feedback ... take a look at the applications first release and watch out for the next ....

Here's a few things that the new release now does all through Alexa,
Performs cross search engine browsing
Includes its own webserver and can be called up on any device using just an IP address (NEW)
Fires off PC applications either individually or groups of apps (Improved)
Changed the way that it reads from Alexa (Massive improvement)

https://youtu.be/X-dOkuFGWSc

Re: Can I get Alexa to play my own music?
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2017, 06:55:50 pm »
>>>   I've got a collection of over 700 music video

So how are you getting these videos to play on Alexa?  from a home network or drive collection, and are you using bluetooth?  Your response doesn't make this clear, but one thing for sure, you are not telling Alexa to play any of them.

I can send soundtrack of any video to Alexa, if it is played on a device (e.g. iPad) that sends audio to Alexa; this is nothing special nor tricky to do.

I told Terry to send his audio files to Alexa via bluetooth.  That is all there is to it.

Offline Jez

Re: Can I get Alexa to play my own music?
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2017, 04:07:15 am »
>>> you are not telling Alexa to play any of them <<<<

Not true, to clarify,

The echo and the dot are exceptional voice recognition devices, but about as much use as a chocolate tea pot in a noisy environment like a party or when you're playing loud music. So I write applications to mix it all up a bit and make something that can be used in everyday life not just something to turn a light on and turn it off again.

My application can detect which echo or dot actually heard the question/request so it can then 'Automatically' send a visual response to the nearest tv or monitor to you. Putting your coat on in the hall and asking about traffic on a particular road might then return a 'Live' traffic camera video to a small screen in front of you. No keyboard, no mouse, just ask.

Playing loud music or in my case selections from my private music video collection, I could ask for an actual track and it would play on any number of TV's instantly. This is not Bluetooth but WiFi. Why would I do this when I can't then select more tracks whilst something is playing, Alexa is now deaf. Instead I ask Alexa to bring up my jukebox on a touch screen, I select the tracks & they stack up and play on one or more TV's simultaneously. The music can be from your own home server, simple PC drive or the cloud. Why would I want to use the cloud and pay someone else to listen to my own collection? You can also ask for the jukebox selector to be sent to any mobile device too without installing any apps on the mobile device.

The echo and dot are (at present) pretty useless at interpreting what you meant, to the point where you could actually set volume to '0' and create your own responses using TTS (Text to speech) at least that way you wouldn't keep getting, 'Sorry I didn't understand that' or 'Cant find a device named ....'. Your PC can actually be configured to interact with possibly all or most of the hubs meaning that your home automation could take on a totally different path. Wait till the AWS Skills are no longer free ... or every time you use one you're attacked with in-app-purchases that you have to buy to stop the ad-nags.

I've also created a games table (Monitor under glass top) so you can simply say two words and get one of hundreds of board games appear on that one monitor alone, e.g.
Alexa .... Scrabble, Alexa ..... Monopoly, Alexa ... Cluedo etc. All you need then are a few counters/tiles under the table and you're ready to go.

By my bar I might ask, Alexa .... Cocktails, this brings up a list of different cocktails. 'SAY' any one of them and that cocktail recipe loads on screen ... more of a party trick really where everyone has to be quiet again.

Can also say, Alexa .... Word ... spreadsheet ... Notepad ... Calculator and all of these PC applications open on screen in a screen position and size of your choice.

To me, this is real home automation, I will continue to develop it but not given up the day job yet.

Jez. 

Re: Can I get Alexa to play my own music?
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2017, 02:41:02 pm »
Jez,

You are the (software engineer) guy who posted here he has an application for asking Alexa about anything, and it would look it up on a half dozen search engines and post the response on a half dozen monitors in your Bat Cave and elsewhere.  This is great that you have put together a "Geek's Dream Home Automation System", it sounds cool and useful for you. But, it is not "real world" for the masses who can't do this.  So, for you to bring this up in a simple discussion of "how do I play my own music on Echo" was a bit of overkill to a guy who had not even been using BT to stream music to anything. You come across as a bit elitist with this latest reply.  If you want to brag about your system (which is cool with me) why not place your own thread, instead of in a simple thread as this one began?

Offline Jez

Re: Can I get Alexa to play my own music?
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2017, 03:43:57 pm »
Cheers Mike but I think you're forgetting that this is a forum where we all throw in ideas and alternatives. What I've created anyone can use & I mean anyone. Let them decide if it's not for them or if it inspires them to look into it further and not just end the comment with 'I told him to do it my way and that is all there is to it' like he was only asking you and you alone. Seriously unbelievable.

Offline Jez

Re: Can I get Alexa to play my own music?
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2017, 03:51:57 pm »
Key phrase in first posting, 'Or is the only way via a subscription service like Amazon Prime?' NO it's not the only way, there's a much cheaper, more reliable and easier way.