Spotify is a great streaming music service with an enormous variety of music, play lists, podcasts, and more. One might think that you could only use Amazon Music with Alexa, since Alexa is the Amazon smart assistant. But this is one of the areas Amazon plays nicely with other services.
You can definitely use Spotify with Alexa. You can stream your music with Alexa to your phone, your echo speakers, your echo shows, and more. However, there are some limitations depending on what plan you use.
So, what kind of options do you have with Spotify and Alexa?
What are the Service Levels Offered by Spotify?
Spotify has several different levels, from a free level all the way to a family plan. Each can be accessed by Alexa (with some limitations.) These are the different levels:
- Free Level
- Premium Levels
- Individual Plan ($9.99 per month)
- Duo Plan ($12.99 per month)
- Family Plan ($15.99 per month)
- Student Plan ($4.99 per month)
We’ll talk about what you get with each level and then address the limitations in using Spotify with Alexa.
What do you get with the Free Spotify Tier?
You get access to their collection of over 82 million songs and millions of podcasts by using the free tier. However, you’ll have to put up with occasional advertisements to use the free version. And some of their collection may not be available for the first few weeks on new releases based on the way artists prefer to get paid for their music.
There are some other limitations with the free tier as well. First, you can only skip 6 songs an hour, unless you’re listening to one of Spotify’s curated playlists. Additionally, you cannot play a single specific song, you are limited to what is in a playlist or an album.
These limitations carry over to using the Spotify free level with Alexa. For instance, you cannot ask Alexa to play a specific song on Spotify, only collections of songs from different artists or genres.
For instance, you might ask “Alexa play Call Me by Blondie” and it will begin to play the “Call Me Playlist”, which for us immediately started playing “Tainted Love by Soft Cell.”
Additionally, you can’t play different music on different devices at the same time.
The Premium Plans
When you move to the premium plans, you get the same millions of songs, playlists, and podcasts, but you no longer have to suffer through advertisements. In addition, you can play specific songs, listen to music offline, and create and share playlists. You also get double the sound quality, 320 kbps vice 160 kbps on the free version. And on top of all that, you get unlimited skips.
Spotify plans are only offered on a monthly basis. That is, they do not offer an annual plan like a lot of other services. Other services, like Amazon Music offer a discount if you purchase a whole year at a time. Spotify does not.
There is a way around that limitation with the Individual plan, however. You can buy a 12-month Spotify gift card from Spotify or places like Best Buy and Walmart. The individual plan is $9.99 per month, which would be $119.88 for a year. But the gift card is only $99 for 12 months, so you can save almost $20 by getting the gift card instead of paying for it monthly.
Unfortunately, there is no way to pay for any of the other premium plans on an annual basis.
What Does the Premium Individual Plan Offer?
The Individual plan comes with all the music that’s include in the free plan, except no advertisements. You also get unlimited skips, offline music, and the ability to create and share playlists.
What Comes with the Premium Duo Plan?
The Spotify Duo plan is for two people who live at the same address. It essentially gives you two premium individual plans at a discount. The plan is $12.99 per month, so you essentially save $6 per month. The plan comes with the same features as the Individual plan, but it’s made for two people each with their own account.
One person buys the Duo Plan and once Spotify verifies that both people live at the same address, the other person gets their own account. This means that each individual’s music and playlists are separate from each other, and that Spotify can make recommendations tailored to each individual’s tastes.
What Comes with the Premium Family Plan?
The family plan comes with all the same features as the Individual plan except that it can be shared with 6 different people who live at the same address. Like the duo plan, each family member gets their own account.
The family plan is $15.99 per month. So, if you use all 6 accounts, that would be a discount of around $40 per month, compared with 6 individual accounts.
So, each family member can have separate playlists and music preferences and can listen to music independently from other family members.
Spotify also has a separate kids app that allows parents to control what their kids can and cannot listen too. It also has explicit lyric filtering that can be added to the service.
What Does the Premium Student Plan come with?
The student plan comes with all the same features as the individual plan, but at a discounted rate.
Spotify uses a third party to verify that you are a student and once that happens you can get the student plan for 12 months. Each 12 months you have to reverify that you are a student which can be done for a maximum of three times. Then you’ll have to revert to the Individual plan or the free plan.
The student plan is $4.99 per month, so you save around $5 per month with that plan.
Alexa Limitations with the Spotify Duo and Family Plans
There is a limitation using Alexa with Spotify on echo devices. Alexa can only be paired with one streaming service and account at a time.
That means if you have a Spotify account paired with Alexa, she can only play music from that one account, no matter how many echo devices you have. And you won’t be able to play different music for a different account on those devices unless you do some work arounds.
Another limitation with the family plan is that there is no work around for the Spotify kids app. No integration has been developed between Alexa and the Spotify kids app. It is only available via the Spotify app.
Workaround #1 for using Spotify with Alexa
Leave one account connected to Alexa as the default. Then for your other accounts, don’t use Alexa as a voice assistant to play your music. Instead, use your echo device like a Bluetooth speaker. Simply connect your phone or your computer’s audio output to the echo device and play music from your individual Spotify account/app.
Workaround #2 for using Spotify with Alexa
Unpair your echo devices and connect them each to their own service and account. This certainly isn’t a great workaround as one speaker would be on one account and another speaker would be on a different account. So, if you wanted to change that for some reason, switching them around would be a hassle.
Workaround #3 for using Spotify with Alexa
Another non-ideal workaround would be simply switching the default account when necessary. That is, you can remove the service and account and re-add the service with another account.
How do you set up Spotify on Alexa?
You can easily add Spotify to Alexa as the default Music Service. Open the Alexa App and tap on “More” on the menu in the bottom right. Then tap settings. Then select the Music and Podcasts settings option.
Next, select the “Link New Service” button. Then, choose Spotify to be the default music service. Lastly, you will see that the default music service has been changed from Amazon Music to Spotify. What this allows you to do is simply ask Alexa to play a song without having to tell her to play it on Spotify.
For instance, if you left Amazon Music as your default player, but wanted to use Spotify, you would have to say something like “Alexa play Lionel Richie on Spotify.” But, by changing the default to Spotify, you can drop the Spotify part, like this: “Alexa play Lionel Richie”.
Spotify is a great choice for streaming music, whether you get the free version or one of the premium plans.
The major limitation of using Alexa with Spotify is that you can only use one streaming service and account at a time with Alexa. The workarounds are rather tedious and don’t really give you the control you would really want. Workarounds ranging from unpairing devices to constantly switching accounts are far from ideal.
So, Spotify and Alexa work well together if you only need one account associated with your Alexa device. Otherwise, if you really need the flexibility that comes with using separate accounts, it may be best to just stick with using Spotify without the convenience of Alexa voice control.
If you’re potentially interested in Amazon Music, you can read our article on what you get with the different tiers of Amazon Music.
Please note that the prices listed for each of the services was accurate at the time of writing this article. Those prices are subject to change.