The Amazon Echo is a great cornerstone for turning your house into a smart home. Having one device that can dim your lights, update you with the latest news, and adjust your thermostat is pretty neat.
But even if you don’t have any other smart home gadgets, the Echo makes a great music player. No matter which Echo device you have, here’s a guide covering all the ways to play music on Alexa.
Does the Amazon Echo Dot Play Music?
Before we begin, you might wonder if your Echo Dot can play music, since it’s not the full-sized Echo. The good news is that the Echo Dot, alongside all Amazon Echo devices like the Echo Spot and Echo Show, play music.
However, you should be aware that the Echo Dot only boasts a basic speaker, so the Dot isn’t great for playing music using Alexa. Thus, you’d be better off connecting your Echo Dot to another speaker for clearer playback. And here are the best Echo Dot speakers available right now.
Amazon Music on Alexa
As of early 2019, Amazon has made a selection of free music on Alexa available to all Echo device owners. This allows you to access an ad-supported selection of playlists and radio stations for free on your Echo device. Just ask Alexa to start playing music.
If you don’t mind paying a bit, Amazon offers two additional music options. These have similar names, but a few key differences. They both work with your Echo, so let’s break them down.
Since your Amazon account is connected to your device, adding the below services to your account automatically sets them up on the Echo, too.
Amazon Prime Music
Prime Music is one of Amazon Prime’s many benefits. It’s a limited music streaming service that includes Alexa music stations and around two million songs. That number pales in comparison to the 30 million that Spotify offers, but Prime Music is still worth a look.
In addition to this collection, any music you buy from Amazon digitally is automatically added to your account. This lets you stream those albums to your Echo without any extra steps. Open the Amazon Music player web interface and you can have a look at what’s on offer. You can also install the Amazon Music player app for Windows or Mac if you like.
While Amazon Prime Music once let you upload your own tracks to the Amazon cloud, the company has discontinued this feature. You’re thus limited to Amazon’s selection of music with the service. You should also know that this benefit isn’t available to those who have a shared Prime membership through a family member.
To play Prime Music on your Echo, try these Alexa music commands:
- “Play my music.”
- “Play the Top Pop station.”
- “Play classical music.”
- “Play U2 from the 80s.”
- “Play the most popular Pearl Jam album.”
- “Play Prime Music for dancing.”
Amazon Music Unlimited and the Amazon Music Echo Plan
If Prime Music isn’t enough for you, Amazon Music Unlimited may be the solution. Music Unlimited “unlocks” tens of millions of songs on Amazon Music, including new releases. While Prime Music offers a small sampling for Prime members, Music Unlimited aims to compete with Spotify and Apple Music.
Music Unlimited costs $8/month or $79/year for Prime members (in addition to the cost of Prime). Non-Prime members pay $10/month. Interestingly, you can also subscribe to the Music Unlimited Echo Plan for $4/month if you only want to listen on your Echo device.
This plan only lets you listen on a single Echo unit though, so it’s no good if you want to listen across multiple devices. You should subscribe to the Individual Plan if you want to listen on more than one.
Aside from the more expansive catalog, Music Unlimited basically stacks with the Amazon Music core. You’ll just need to decide whether the additional subscription is worth it for you. There’s a 30-day trial available that lets you ensure your favorite tunes are available.
Check out our guide to managing Amazon Music playlists for more tips.
Third-Party Music Services for Amazon Echo
Do you prefer another music service to Amazon’s offerings for playing music on Alexa? No problem; your Echo can play your music from several other sources.
Before you start listening to music from third-party services, you’ll need to connect your accounts. To get everything set up, open up the Alexa app on your phone or visit the Alexa web interface. Slide out the left sidebar and select Settings. Tap the Music category and you’ll see a page where you can connect your services.
As discussed earlier, the Amazon Music entry should already be connected to your Amazon account. You can link other accounts here, including:
- Spotify (requires Premium)
- TuneIn (no sign-in required)
- Apple Music
Once you’re all signed in, tap the Default Services field at the bottom of the page. Here you can select your preferred service for both your music library and radio stations. That way, when you say “Alexa, play music from Prince,” you don’t have to specify that you want to use Spotify every time.
Now you can tell your Echo to start playing music via Alexa voice commands. Try some of these, or check out Amazon’s list of music voice commands for more:
- “Play Beach Boys radio on Pandora.”
- “Thumb up this song.”
- “Skip this song.”
- “Who is this artist?”
- “Play jazz from Spotify.”
- “Play the station WSSW.”
Can Alexa Play Apple Music?
As mentioned above, yes, the Amazon Echo supports Apple Music. Simply follow the steps to link a new music service and select Apple Music when presented with the list. Enter your account credentials and you can set Apple Music as your default streaming service.
Use Bluetooth for Everything Else
Aside from Kindle and Audible (which are obviously for books, not music), the list of officially Echo-compatible music services is limited to the above. However, you can easily send your tunes from Google Play Music or anywhere else by using your Echo as a Bluetooth speaker.
It’s easy to do this: just say Alexa, pair Bluetooth and your Echo will start looking for Bluetooth devices to connect to. Pop open the Bluetooth options on your phone or computer and look for Echo-XYZ to pair them. After this, play any audio from your device and you’ll hear it on your Echo.
Alexa supports basic audio commands when acting as a Bluetooth speaker, so you can say Alexa, pause or Skip this song to control playback without lifting a finger. When you’re all done, just say Alexa, disconnect and the Echo will end the connection with that device.
What If Alexa Won’t Play Music?
If Alexa won’t play your music, you should first reboot your Echo device by unplugging it for a few minutes and plugging it back in. This should clear up any temporary issues.
If this doesn’t work, and the trouble only occurs with one streaming service, head back to Settings > Music in the Alexa app. Remove and re-add the services you use and try again.
Enjoy Amazon Echo Music From Anywhere
The Amazon Echo allows you to stream music from pretty much any source you could want. Prime Music is a nice starting point if you don’t have the money to spend on another music subscription. But if you don’t want to use Amazon’s options, several third-party services are available. Or just bypass all that and stream your music via Bluetooth.
Whatever your preference, you should be able to get unlimited tunes playing on your Echo device in just a few minutes. This makes the Amazon Echo a worthy purchase for anyone who loves listening to music.
Are you looking to get more out of Alexa? Check out some fun games you can play on an Amazon Echo.