The Amazon Echo is the key to making your home a smart home. Some might say that Alexa is stupid, but having one device that can dim your lights, update you with the latest news, and adjust your thermostat is pretty neat.
Even if you don’t have any other smart home gadgets, the Echo is a great music player. Whether you’ve got the full Echo or opted for the Dot or Tap, here are all the ways you can play music on your Alexa-enabled speaker.
Amazon Music Options
Amazon offers two music options that 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 services below to your account automatically sets up the Echo with them, too.
If you’re a Prime member, one of the many benefits available to you is Prime Music. This is a limited music streaming service that includes around two million songs. That number pales in comparison to the 30 million that Spotify offers, but Prime Music is still worth a look.
While its selection is limited, Prime Music also lets you upload your own tracks to the Amazon cloud. Any music you buy from Amazon digital is automatically added to your account, so you can stream those albums to your Echo without any extra steps. Open the Amazon Music web interface and click Upload your music to your cloud library on the left side. This prompts you to download and install the Amazon Music app for Windows or Mac.
You can upload up to 250 of your own music tracks for free using this tool (digital purchases don’t count against the maximum). If you need more space you can up that limit to 250,000 songs for $25 per year. Visit your Amazon Music settings page and change your plan under Music Storage if you need. Once you add your tracks, they’re treated just like any other tunes that you’d stream from Prime Music.
To play Prime Music on your Echo, try these Alexa commands:
- “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.”
Note that this benefit isn’t available to those who share a Prime membership with family members.
If Prime Music isn’t enough for you, the Music Unlimited plan is the solution. Music Unlimited “unlocks” tens of millions of songs on Amazon Music, including new releases. While Prime Music is a small sampling for Prime members, Music Unlimited aims to contend with Spotify and Apple Music.
Music Unlimited costs $8 per month or $80 per year for Prime members (in addition to the cost of Prime). Interestingly, you can also subscribe to Music Unlimited for $4 per month if you only want to listen on your Echo. This plan only lets you listen on a single Echo device though, so it’s no good for multi-home setups.
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.
Do you prefer another music service to Amazon’s offerings? No problem: your Echo can play 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 web interface. Slide out the left sidebar and click Settings. Under the Accounts header, tap Music & Media.
As discussed earlier, the Amazon Music entry should already be connected to your Amazon account. You can link your Spotify, Pandora, and iHeartRadio accounts here. The Echo also supports TuneIn Radio, but you don’t have to sign in to use it. Note that using Spotify on your Echo requires a Premium subscription, which is totally worth it.
Once you’re all signed in, tap the Choose default music services button 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 some 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 voice commands. Try some of these, or check out the complete 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.”
To review your stations and music on each of these services, open the left sidebar in the Alexa app and tap Music & Books. Tap a service and you can manage your music collection for each one. Of course, you can also use the dedicated apps for your phone, too.
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 ends there. However, you can easily send your tunes from Google Play Music, Apple Music, or anywhere else by using your Echo as a Bluetooth speaker.
It’s easy to do this: just say Alexa, pair 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 now 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 break the connection with that device.
What Do You Listen to Using Alexa?
The Echo allows you to steam 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, and gives you a place to upload your own tracks, too. If you don’t want to use Amazon’s options, several great (and free) third-party services are available. Or just bypass all that and stream your music via Bluetooth.
Whatever your preference, you can get unlimited tunes playing on your Echo in just a few minutes. Which makes the Echo a worthy purchase for anyone who loves listening to music.
Hungry for more customization with Alexa? Check out the best creative uses for your Echo.
Which methods do you use to play music on your Echo? Is there another service you like that we didn’t mention here? Please let us know how you use your Echo to listen to music in the comments below!