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Previewing Amazon's third annual "Alexa Live," kicking off tomorrow

In 2004, Jay-Z and Linkin Park released Collision Course, an album consisting entirely of mashups of previous songs released by both bands, all re-recorded.

The concept itself was criticized, Jay-Z was heavily criticized for collaborating with a mostly white rock band, and Linkin Park was criticized for working with a rap star with ‘questionable’ lyrics. The various labels involved were criticized for even allowing the effort to take place.

Naturally, the result was a historic album that rocketed to the top of the Billboard charts.

For the past couple of years, Amazon has run an Alexa conference mainly aimed at developers, but also appealing to executives, called Alexa Live.

This event combines direct access to Amazon executives, providing first looks at new Alexa features, with “deep dive” sessions designed to allow devs and execs alike to get Alexa questions answered by Amazon employees.

From Amazon:

Alexa Live is Amazon’s largest event for skill builders, device makers, and others looking to learn how to incorporate Alexa into their business. Join us for a half-day of learning and inspiration. Learn new skills and hear from experts with dozens of sessions across three tracks - all virtual and free. Register today to view the full agenda and save your spot!

You can register for Alexa Live here.

Six startups are participating in tomorrow’s Alexa Live, all recipients of funding from Amazon’s Alexa Fund - a $200M fund Amazon set up to invest in startups of all types that are using Alexa or have Alexa integration on their product roadmap.

These six companies are worth a look, to get an idea of the breadth of Alexa integration across verticals:

CLMBR - creator of a home workout machine that simulates vertical climbing, building cardio and strength at the same time. (Conveniently, in addition to the Alexa Fund, Jay-Z is an investor in this Colorado company.)

Endel - creator of AI-powered soundscapes that help users focus, relax, and sleep, including collaborations with the likes of Grimes and Plastikman.

Ome - creator of smart knobs for kitchen appliances.

Span - creator of smart electric panels for your home.

Syntiant - creator of always-on voice-enabled processors.

Voiceflow - creator of tooling around designing, prototyping, and launching voice and chat bots.

Upcoming Project Voice Series events (all in-person with limited attendance available - click banner to register):