How to listen to free music on your Amazon Echo speaker

Update: Amazon now makes it easy to enjoy (some) tunes for free

How to listen to music free on Alexa
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One of the key uses for Amazon Alexa speakers is listening to music – but if you're the proud owner of an Amazon Echo, how can you play tunes for free? These days, a music subscription seems to be another life tax, just like fuel, bills and, of course, Netflix.

A Spotify or Apple Music subscription will set you back around $9.99 per month, while an Amazon Music Unlimited is $7.99. However, thanks to a new ad-supported service from Amazon itself, Alexa-enabled devices can now stream music for free.

Essential reading: How to connect Spotify and Alexa

So, if you want to get music without adding to your outgoings, it's now possible – albeit slightly limited. Let's go through the steps, and also look at a couple more sources of free music on the Echo.

Try Amazon Music for free

How to listen to music free on your Amazon Echo Alexa speaker

Before, there was no automatic provision for music built into the Echo or Alexa, but you could access Prime Music if you were an Amazon Prime subscriber. However, Amazon has now launched a free tier of its music streaming service (in the US only, for now) that's ad-supported and available for any Alexa-enabled devices.

The new level gives users to access to a selection of top playlists and stations for free – beforehand, as we say, this was only available for Prime members. It's naturally more limited, since there's no subscription required, and is similar to the two million free songs that Prime subscribers get. If you were to pay for Music Unlimited, there's access to more than 40 million, by comparison.

You can access the free music based on songs, artists, eras or genres, saying things like, “Alexa, play the [artist/song/etc.] station.” Alternatively, you can choose one of the many preset playlists, including Fuego Latino, Country Heat and more.

If you want to try out a fully paid Amazon Music Unlimited subscription, you can do that, too. Simply take out a 30-day Amazon Music Unlimited trial, which you can cancel at any time. It's a great way to try before you buy.

Access free radio with TuneIn

If you’re not interested in the free tier of Amazon Music, you can always hit up the radio.

While Google obviously has YouTube to call on, there’s no option for that on your Alexa speaker – unless, of course, you're trying to watch YouTube on the Echo Show. But there is the TuneIn radio skill, which will give you access to pretty much any radio station on demand.

Just say “Alexa, play [radio station]" to get started. It should work automatically but say "Alexa, enable TuneIn skill," if not.

Access Spotify Free (without voice)

Spotify is an Alexa-compatible service and it has a free element – so, this should be the answer to your free music conundrum, right? Well, not quite. Spotify only lets Premium users stream their service through Alexa, but all is not lost. You can now use Spotify Connect with a free account, and Amazon Echo devices are compatible with Spotify Connect.

This means that, from the Spotify smartphone app, you can play to your Echo device – essentially getting the desired effect, albeit without using voice control.

Use Bluetooth

Amazon Echo devices are all compatible with Bluetooth, so you can hook them up as speakers for your devices. That means you can play any music source you like to your Amazon Echo – if you pair the two first. It’s a bit of a faff, but Alexa will remember devices, so you can just say “Alexa, pair my device” at any point to quickly get the two hooked up.

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