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Is Alexa Music Free? A Comprehensive Breakdown

The short answer is – it depends! While Alexa itself is free, the music you listen to may or may not be. Alexa supports several major music streaming platforms, some with free tiers and some requiring paid subscriptions.

In this detailed guide, we‘ll cover everything you need to know as a music lover about getting free tunes from Amazon‘s handy voice assistant.

How Alexa Plays Music

First, a quick primer on how Alexa works for music…

Alexa is Amazon‘s virtual AI assistant. It powers Echo smart speakers and other devices, allowing you to request music and more just by asking.

To start streaming tunes, you‘ll need:

  • An Alexa-enabled smart device like an Echo or Echo Dot
  • An Amazon account
  • A linked music streaming service

Once set up and linked to services like Amazon Music, Spotify, or Pandora, you can ask Alexa to play songs, playlists, stations, podcasts and more. It will access your preferred platform and begin streaming immediately.

So Alexa itself is 100% free. You only pay if you opt for a premium music service subscription. Alexa currently supports these major platforms:

  • Amazon Music (free for Prime or $9.99/month for Unlimited)
  • Spotify (free with ads or $9.99/month for Premium)
  • Apple Music ($9.99/month)
  • Pandora (free with ads or $4.99+/month for Premium)
  • SiriusXM ($8+/month)
  • iHeartRadio (free with ads or $9.99/month for Plus)
  • Tidal ($9.99/month for HiFi)

Next, let‘s go over your options to stream free tunes using Alexa at home.

Free Music Streaming with Alexa

While paid platforms like Spotify Premium and Apple Music give you unlimited on-demand access, you can still get plenty of free music streaming with Alexa. Here are your best options:

1. Amazon Prime Music

If you‘re an Amazon Prime member already for the free shipping and other benefits, Prime Music is a nice bonus. It offers ad-free streaming access to over 2 million songs and thousands of playlists at no extra cost.

The 2 million song catalog focuses on popular hits and classics vs deep cuts. But if you grew up with radio hits and love pop music, Prime Music should satisfy.

Cost: Included free with $139/year Amazon Prime membership

How to use: Just ask Alexa to play any of the 2 million included tracks

2. Spotify Free

Spotify Free gives you access to Spotify‘s entire music catalog and playlists. The catch is you can only play albums and playlists on shuffle mode with periodic ads. You can‘t pick specific tracks on-demand.

Still, it‘s a great way for existing Spotify users to control their music through Alexa hands-free. Spotify has over 70 million tracks, so your shuffle possibilities are endless.

Cost: Free with ads

How to use: Link Spotify account in Alexa app and say "Alexa, play my Discover Weekly" etc.

3. Pandora

Pandora is the classic internet radio option. While not fully on-demand, you can access curated stations based on your favorite songs and artists for endless music tailored to your tastes.

The library of stations covers pretty much any genre. Just ask Alexa to play a station for the genre or artist you‘re feeling.

Cost: Free with periodic ads

How to use: Say "Alexa, play 70s Soft Rock" or any Pandora station

4. Amazon Podcasts

Along with music, Alexa gives you free access to a growing library of podcasts. These include both Amazon Originals like Dr. Death and popular shows like Crime Junkies, Stuff You Should Know and more.

Podcasts make it easy to catch your favorite talk, true crime or comedy shows hands-free. Just ask Alexa to play the podcast by name.

Cost: Free

How to use: Say "Alexa play the latest episode of My Favorite Murder" etc.

5. TuneIn

With over 100,000 real radio stations globally across sports, news, talk and music, TuneIn is an incredible free resource. Just ask Alexa to play stations by name or browse by category.

Cost: Free

How to use: Say "Alexa play KOIT San Francisco" or "play jazz music on TuneIn"

6. iHeartRadio

iHeartRadio grants access to over 1500 live radio stations from major cities across the US. You can also create Custom Radio personalized stations based on your music tastes and favorites.

Cost: Free with periodic ads

How to use: Say "Alexa play 95.7 San Francisco on iHeartRadio"

7. serves up live CBS radio stations for sports, music and news. Listen to favorite local CBS affiliates from any city ad-free.

Cost: Free

How to use: Say "Alexa play 1077 The Bone" (Tampa rock station)

8. NPR One

Link your NPR One account to listen to live streams, podcasts, and shows from NPR‘s acclaimed public radio programming.

Cost: Free

How to use: Say "Alexa open NPR One"

9. Calm Meditations

Calm‘s Alexa skill provides free guided meditations, sleep stories, scenes, and music to help relax and reduce anxiety. The content library is extensive enough to vary your routine.

Cost: Free

How to use: Say "Alexa open Calm" and select content

10. LibriVox Audiobooks

LibriVox offers thousands of classic audiobooks from the public domain, all free. It won‘t replace Audible for new releases, but does let you enjoy literary classics narrated.

Cost: Free

How to use: Say "Alexa open LibriVox" to browse and play

As you can see, Alexa provides full musical experiences at no cost if you‘re willing to compromise on-demand playback for the occasional ad. Based on the latest 19.4 million U.S. subscribers, nearly 20% of American households already get Prime Music free with Alexa.

Next let‘s compare paid vs free options on key factors music lovers care about.

Free vs Premium Music on Alexa: Key Factors Compared

FeatureFree MusicPaid Subscription
Catalog SizeTens of millions50-90 million
Play Any Song On-DemandNoYes
Shuffle Mode OnlyYesNo
No AdsNoYes
Skip/Replay Songs At WillNoYes
High Audio QualityNoYes, HD streaming
Offline PlaybackNoYes

Paid Music Streaming with Alexa

While free options provide good variety, paying for a premium music service unlocks the convenience of unlimited on-demand song playback. Here are two popular choices:

Amazon Music Unlimited

Amazon Music Unlimited gives you access to over 75 million songs for ultimate catalog depth. Pricing includes:

  • $7.99/month for Prime members
  • $3.99/month for single Alexa device
  • $9.99/month for non-Prime members
  • $79/year discounted Prime subscription

With Unlimited, any song or album is available instantly on request. It‘s ad-free and features advanced recommendations to discover new artists.

Spotify Premium

Similarly, Spotify Premium offers over 70 million tracks on-demand for $9.99/month. You can download playlists for offline listening too.

It combines the Alexa voice control experience with Spotify‘s renowned playlists and discovery features.

Based on surveys, Spotify and Apple Music lead for music subscriptions with 32% and 21% adoption respectively among Americans. But Amazon Music Unlimited has quickly grown to challenge them at 15% adoption.

Now let‘s dive into some music streaming stats and trends that may help inform your Alexa listening strategy…

Music Streaming Industry Stats and Trends

How popular is streaming compared to downloads and physical media today? How many people pay vs go free? Some key stats:

  • 90 million global music streaming subscriptions in 2019 [source]
  • Streaming accounted for 80% of total music industry revenue in 2019 [source]
  • But vinyl sales also grew 19% as physical media persists [source]
  • Only 36% of monthly online music listeners have paid subscriptions vs 64% free [source]

The data shows the clear dominance of streaming in the industry. However, vinyl‘s resurgence and the majority sticking with free options demonstrate that cost remains a key factor for many music fans.

While paid services offer ultimate convenience and quality, the appeal of free remains strong. Luckily Alexa accommodates both preferences.

Alexa Music: Expert Tips for Audiophiles

As a music-lover, you want the best sound quality and listening experience possible from streaming. Here are 5 pro tips from audiophile experts on getting the most from Alexa:

1. Use Premium Services for Lossless Audio

For crisp high-quality sound, go with a premium service like Amazon Music HD, Tidal HiFi or Deezer HiFi. These offer 16-bit/44.1 kHz lossless quality vs compressed streams on free tiers.

2. Choose WiFi over Bluetooth for Connections

Though convenient, Bluetooth slightly compresses the audio signal. For home listening, connect your Echo device via WiFi for full lossless streaming.

3. Optimize Alexa for Music-First Use

In the app under ‘Alexa Preferences‘, choose "Music & Podcasts" as your primary content source. This makes requesting songs quicker and simpler.

4. Position Speakers Properly

Place Echo devices equidistant from your sitting position pointed to ear level for ideal stereo imaging and sound balance.

5. Enable EQ settings and Alexa Music Skills

Adjust EQ presets like ‘Jazz‘, ‘Rock‘, or ‘Treble Booster‘ to suit different music genres. And explore Alexa skills like Simple Radio for quick personalized stations.

Following these best practices ensures you extract maximum fidelity and enjoyment from your Alexa streaming sessions.

Now let‘s wrap up with answers to FAQs about getting music for free on Alexa:

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there any completely free music I can get on Alexa?

Yes, Alexa offers numerous free streaming options covered above like Prime Music, Pandora, Spotify Free, TuneIn Radio and podcasts. You have full access to these at no cost.

What happens if I end my paid streaming subscription?

Your access to that premium catalog will be removed. However you can still request freely available content like Prime Music, radio stations, podcasts etc. through Alexa.

Do I need an Amazon Music subscription for Alexa?

No subscription is needed. As long as you have an Amazon account, Alexa provides access to Prime Music and numerous free streaming services. Paid subscriptions like Amazon Music Unlimited are optional.

Can I get a discounted Amazon Music Unlimited subscription?

Yes. Prime members pay just $7.99/month rather than $9.99. There is also a $3.99 single Echo device subscription. Students get 4 months free then $4.99/month.

What‘s better for value – Spotify or Amazon Music Unlimited on Alexa?

It‘s close, but most reviews give Spotify the edge for playlist quality and user experience. However, Unlimited may be preferable if you want to consolidate all media services into one Amazon ecosystem.

What‘s the easiest way to find free music skills for Alexa?

In the Alexa app, check the "Skills and Games" menu, then search for categories like "Music & Audio". Look at star ratings and enable skills that appeal to you.

Can I access completely free audiobooks on Alexa?

Yes. Alexa provides the LibriVox skill giving you thousands of classic audiobooks from the public domain. Just ask "Alexa open LibriVox" to start listening free.

We hope these comprehensive answers help you unlock all the options to stream music free using Alexa in your home. With the right guidance, you can enjoy endless playlists, stations, podcasts and more without paying a cent!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.