Solved - Why does alexa tell me to enable the skill in arc when music routine runs

  • 29 April 2023
  • 1 reply

The problem...

I would always be told to install or set up the Alexa skill every time I created a routine and tried to play music on Spotify.

Arc Left 300, right 300 Dining room - 100 Kitchen - 300 Fire TV Spotify Echo Show These are all grouped in an Alexa Room called "Front of House."

My Fire TV was linked to all these devices, so I could talk to any of them to control the TV. Yet I could never get Spotify to work from my Arc via voice. It would work with some others, but I would always get the skill message with Arc.

My Fire TV "speakers out" was set to play music out of the group "Front of House," so this way when music played, I thought it would start with the group.

My TV is plugged into my TV, and my TV's HDMI is in my Arc.

That's the setup...

I noticed that if I created the play music command in Alexa as a routine, it would never work if I set the default device to my Arc or my Fire TV. It only worked if I picked a different device.

Or I would get the "please configure your skill message."

But I wanted it to stay on my Arc because I wanted the sound to come out of my Arc.

Turns out the problem was that my Fire TV output was set to play music to the group, and my routine was set to the Arc. If you think about it, I basically created a loopback and did not realize it. I set up the recommended surround sound setup, but by setting the routine to go out of the Arc, the Arc was unable to process Spotify because it was part of the home theater group. To fix this, I went into the group in Alexa and removed the "Alexa devices" except for the Fire TV. This way, I was not feeding back into itself.

I then changed the output on the Fire TV to play music to the Front of House instead, only playing it through the speakers.

So now when music plays, it goes out through the Fire TV, then feeds into the Arc, and then outputs to the Front of House. It's like a leapfrog of audio. I missed this for four days because I followed the directions and said, "play my music to the group," which would have worked except I had created a group.

Why it is a bug and what causes it:

Sonos app created a speaker group called Front of House, which then made a virtual speaker I could pick. I then created a matching group in Alexa and added the Sonos speaker group. But I also added my Arc (which was part of that group) as the primary Alexa device. So, again, another loop.

As soon as I removed the Arc as the primary Alexa device, it worked fine.

TL;DR - Do not create a surround sound group on Sonos, then add that group to another group on Alexa because then both the virtual speaker from Sonos and the Arc show up as Alexa devices. You might think they are all devices, but if a Sonos speaker is a group and then the same Sonos speaker is added to the Alexa group, it will get confused and try to route the Alexa commands to the group rather than the speaker. Then the group can't be programmed with the skill because it is not a real Alexa device, so when you retry to detect skills, they never show up. Therefore, the skill cannot learn the drive, and you will always get this message.

To fix it, assuming you want to keep your speaker group in Alexa, you will need to create a duplicate group without the virtual speaker in this group. Then the Arc will run if you set


Another problem is that the Music skill in the Alexa for creating routines does not let you pick the output device .  It takes the base default on for the entire routine so the base default one is set to the arc and you’re trying to play. YouTube out of the fire TV are always in the command to the fire TV directly and it does not tell the fire TV to use a particular service besides the music services so if you wanna watch a music video or a video program that’s on YouTube you can’t unless you try to add a custom routine at the very end, and then see on YouTube at the end of the skill command so you might say something like play nightly meditation music on YouTube where if you just say to use the music skill and say play meditation music. It will do a search rather than an actual play because it does not have the command for YouTube so you can get around this by doing a custom voice search, but in my case, I also was using it for my wake up come in so it would read my packages that would arrive and then open meditation music.  The problem there is that they both have to be the very last item in the routine and of course they both can’t be the last, so it typically will put the packages as the last and when that happens that causes the custom skill not to run, so then it goes falls back and does the search, an easy solution around this would be if they would simply allow one routine to call another routine that would solve all of these problems. However, the way I was able to fix it was to create two different groups in one group did not have my speaker group in it while the other one did and then when I called the routine, I use the music and I sent the music to the group that did not have the virtual speaker in it so it was going to the Amazon group without that  and because that group was playing out of my fire TV. It went back into my arc, which then went back into the group that’s creating the desired effect. 



1 reply

Userlevel 7
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Hi @SBXX App - OG Retro 

Thank you for sharing your findings - I’m sure some will find it very helpful!