March 12, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Not-So-Secret Phone Number Introduces Siri to Spotify

artists_hack_lamere_twilio_spotify sxswThe iPhone 5 has Siri. She understands you… some of the time.

You can tell Siri to play music from Apple’s own Music app, and that typically works.

If you ask her about other stuff, like Spotify or any of your other third-party music apps, Siri turns a deaf ear to your entreaties — regardless of your diction or phrasing. How rude!

To avoid crashing his car while typing in the long names of the post-rock bands he prefers (Godspeed! You Black Emperor, Explosions In The Sky, etc.) into his Spotify for iOS app, Paul Lamere (director of developer community for The Echo Nest, which publishes devised a clever solution at the Artist’s Hack at SXSW earlier this week.

Unlike his previous Music Hack Day creations (Infinite Gangnam Style, Bohemian Rhapsichord, Boil The Frog), this hack, called  “Longer life for post-rock fans” (formerly called SpotifyNoHands; source code), is fairly simple. The basic idea is that you get Siri to text your artist request to a certain number, then tap the link that comes back to open that artist in your Spotify app.

To try it, get Siri to text the name of whatever you want to hear in Spotify to this New Hampshire phone number: (603) 821-4328. Lamere suggests that if you want to try this, you name that contact “Music Player,” but really, you could use any word you want.

Here’s how that goes in real life:

You: Send a text to Music Player!

Siri: What would you like it to say?

You: Explosions in the Sky [or whatever band].

Siri: Okay, I’ll send it.

In return, you get a link, which you can tap to open the requested artist within Spotify for iOS. Instead of tapping your iPhone 5 upwards of, say, 20 times, you’re now just tapping it once. See how you didn’t crash your car? Nice.

Here’s how this  “Longer life for post-rock fans” technique looks on the iPhone:


It’s a simple enough hack, because basically, all Lamere had to do was set up a Twilio phone number that turns artist search terms into Spotify links. Nonetheless, it’s useful, if you’ve been looking for a way to get Siri to play nice with Spotify.