Spotify gives Amazon Echo a dose of on-demand music

Users can now stream any song, artist, album, or playlist to Amazon’s connected speaker, but only with a $10 per month Premium subscription.

Amazon Echo

The Amazon Echo

Credit: Michael Brown

Amazon Echo is going back to its music streaming roots with Spotify support.

The connected speaker can now tap into Spotify’s 30 million songs through voice commands. For instance, users can say “Alexa, play Pearl Jam from Spotify,” or “Alexa, play Afternoon Acoustic from Spotify.”

Voice commands should work with any song, artist, album, or playlist, provided users have signed into Spotify through Amazon’s Alexa companion smartphone app. Echo also supports Spotify Connect, allowing a phone or tablet to serve as the remote control while music plays through the speaker.

There’s just one catch: Listening through Amazon Echo requires a $10 per month Spotify Premium subscription. This isn’t a huge surprise given that Spotify also requires a subscription for some other home entertainment devices, such as Chromecast Audio and Roku media streamers. (A couple of exceptions: PlayStation consoles and Chromecast video dongles can access the free version of Spotify.)

Beyond Spotify, Echo also supports direct streaming from Amazon Music, Prime Music, iHeartRadio, Pandora, and TuneIn. Users can also connect a phone or tablet over Bluetooth to play music from any source (including, presumably, the free version of Spotify).

Why this matters: Although the connected speaker has expanded into smart home controls, shopping, and even pizza delivery since its late 2014 debut, music was one of Echo’s original selling points. Until now, however, Echo has lacked support for on-demand streaming services such as Spotify, which lets users access virtually any song, artist, or album from a massive online catalog. Are Apple Music and Google Play Music next? Probably not, given the ongoing friction between both companies and Amazon, but we can dream.

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