Is It Legal to Use an Amazon Show or Echo in Your Business?

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Voice-activated smart technology is booming, with smart speakers like the Amazon Echo leading the way. These devices are integrating with other types of technology, including streaming video and music, voice-activated search engines, and even smart appliances or lights.

Smart homes are becoming increasingly popular and common, as more people use the Amazon Echo or the newer Amazon Show to integrate their digital lives into their physical home. But what about using smart technology for your business?

music speaker

Smart Devices & Your Business: Amazon’s Alexa in Offices & Stores

Setting up an Amazon Echo or Show in your business might seem like a simple solution to several problems. You can easily stream specific playlists or videos, set up specific permissions for yourself or employees, and take advantage of the high-quality speaker combined with smart technology, so you do not have to set up hardware in your store.

However, to play music, television, or movies in your business, you need special licenses. Amazon’s Alexa, integrated with Echo or Show, does not provide this type of license with your basic account.

What Licenses Do You Need?

When you play music in your business, you’re technically holding a public performance of every song your customers and employees hear. You’re required to pay the copyright holder for these performances. If you don’t, you could get fined.

Performing rights organizations (PROs) are music licensing intermediaries that collect fees on behalf of their clients.

Representatives from these PROs can visit your business, scour your social media, or attend your events to determine if you’re playing music without a license. If you are, they can send you demand letters, bills, or court summons. The fees can be intense and very hard to ignore. Making a relationship with a PRO before you play the first song is the best way to avoid fines.

However, a relationship with one PRO doesn’t allow you to play music from all catalogs. Companies like Pandora CloudCover have agreements with major PROs and can deliver a comprehensive library for a low price.

Alexa for Business Integrates With Your Personal Amazon Devices

The Echo and Show devices are hardware, so they do not require you to designate whether you are at home, in your office or storefront, or elsewhere. However, both these devices require Alexa, Amazon’s digital assistant program, to run using voice commands or tapping the screen.

Most people use the personal version of Alexa, but Amazon also offers Alexa for Business, an enterprise version of Alexa that pairs with several Amazon devices, including those that might be used for personal applications too.

Devices that pair with Alexa for Business are:

  • Echo, both the first and second generations.
  • Echo Dot, the second and third generations.
  • Echo Plus, the first and second generations.
  • Echo Show.
  • Echo Spot.
  • Polycom Trio 8500 and 8800.
  • Other devices that pair with Alexa.

If you have some or all of these devices already, you can pair them with your Alexa for Business account, have employees pair their devices with your business account, or get devices through the Alexa for Business Starter Kit, which are dedicated just to your office or store.

What Is Amazon Alexa for Business?

Amazon Alexa for Business works much like the version you use at home. However, this tool can also tackle many tasks you’d only perform at work.

The business version of Alexa can do the following things with a simple voice command:

  • Schedule meetings
  • Read and respond to email
  • Find and book an open meeting room
  • Notify facilities about a building problem
  • Check inventory

Your personal Alexa can make requests from personal devices, but the business version can actually take action and perform some tasks for you. It’s a much more powerful tool you can use to transform the work you do every day.

Setting up an Alexa for Business account can be time-consuming, and you may need a developer to help you. For example, Alexa requires you to build and deploy skills for your customers and staff members. If you’re not comfortable with coding or programming, you might be wise to stick with the personal version of Alexa to run music in your business.

Integrating Licensed Music with Amazon Devices

While your Echo or Show might integrate seamlessly with your Amazon Prime Music account, you cannot simply play these songs off your personal playlist. Here’s what to do:

  1. Open your Amazon Alexa app on your smartphone or tablet.
  2. Access your settings, typically by tapping on the more icon.
  3. Find “Music and Podcasts” within your settings.
  4. Tap the “Link New Service” button.
  5. Choose the service with the business license you’ve subscribed to.
  6. Log into the music provider’s account.

These steps should establish the connection between Alexa and your music service. Then, you can play tunes from your music provider through your Amazon devices.

If your shop is small, you may need only one speaker to fill the space with sound. Use voice commands to make Alexa switch up the songs and change them as the mood strikes you.

If your space is larger, you may need to connect more than one speaker to your device, and you may need to keep the controls hidden from pranksters and customers. Experiment with placement and sound quality until you find something that seems just right for you.

How to Use Amazon’s Alexa for Business

Alexa for Business primarily works in office environments. You can deploy the Show or Echo in breakrooms, meeting rooms, or lobbies.

Access to Alexa for Business is not restricted to a handful of users. Instead, it is available to anyone who can physically access the device. You can assign specific devices specific jobs or tasks using the Alexa for Business console.

Using an Echo or Show in your office or for a few employees means you can easily dial into conference calls, with high-quality technology that uses your internet connection and specific hardware, making your voice or video call seamless and crisp. You can also use Alexa through a Show or Echo to manage calendars, events, and tasks with a few simple voice commands. This means no more sitting by your computer waiting for an email to adjust calendar invites.

customers waiting in line

Alexa for Business has “skill groups” available, which you can designate and then assign to specific rooms. For example, if you have a skill group set up for your office’s lobby, you can assign one device to that skill group. Your employees can still use Alexa for some personal commands, like asking what time it is, but depending on the skill group, you can limit access to the corporate calendar, phone calls, or other tasks. Additionally, with Alexa for Business, you and your employees will not be able to shop on the Amazon website for any personal items.

In addition to setting specific skill groups, you can keep track of certain business metrics with your Alexa for Business devices. For example, in a meeting room, you can use an Echo to keep track of how many meetings were held there, how many people attended each, and how long each meeting lasted, among other metrics.

Still, if your employees want to listen to music, or you want to use your Echo or Show to play music in your lobby or waiting room, you need a dedicated music for business service. Amazon does not offer music streaming specifically for enterprise use. Amazon Prime Music is only for personal use. You will need a third party that can integrate with Alexa or the hardware devices while providing music licensed for business use.

Quick Answer: Amazon Music for Business Options

Does Amazon offer a version of Amazon Music just for business owners? Unfortunately, it does not. Amazon Business Prime offers plenty of perks for business owners, but music just isn’t one of them.

You can link your Amazon device to a third party that can provide licensed music for businesses. Pandora CloudCover, for example, provides music streaming specifically licensed for businesses, and the tunes can integrate with Alexa-enabled devices.

Streaming Music Through an Echo or Show Requires a Different Program

Pandora CloudCover integrates with a wide range of devices using Wi-Fi connections. While not all Amazon devices are supported yet, Pandora CloudCover's software can be downloaded onto the Amazon Kindle Fire as an app, which means it can integrate with other Amazon technology.

If you need streaming music for your business, whether you use Alexa for Business or not, you can work with Pandora CloudCover for affordable, business-licensed tunes that can work with any computer, tablet, or smartphone. You can also use Sonos speakers for high-quality sound, or get Pandora CloudCover’s CloudBox to specifically manage your music streaming.


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