Amazon’s Alexa-powered Echo speaker has long been able to pull streaming music from a number of services, but now Amazon is allowing users to set their Spotify account as the default. The new functionality, confirmed by Spotify – one of the streaming options with Echo support – means that no longer do users have to specify which provider they want to hear a track or playlist from.
Until now, requesting music without being specific about whether you want to hear it through your Spotify, Pandora, or other account would automatically default to Amazon’s own Prime Music service.
That could prove frustrating, since Amazon’s catalog – though included free with a Prime annual subscription – is still significantly lacking in comparison with rival services.
Now, by hopping into the Amazon Alexa app on your smartphone, you can configure your primary streaming music account. Under “Settings” there’s a “Customize my music service preferences” option; within that, you can pick your choice of music provider under the “My preferred music source” drop-down.
Alternatively, you can log into Amazon’s Echo management page in your browser and make the selection there.
If you have more than one subscription to a music service, or still want to access certain tracks you were familiar with from Amazon Prime Music, you can still specify a platform in your spoken request.
Asking “Play XYZ from Prime Music,” for instance, will request a particular track only from Amazon’s platform.
It may sound like a minor change, but it’s a sign that Amazon is loosening its grip on Alexa as a whole and Echo specifically. Although there are obvious benefits from making your own services the default, there’s also something to be said for appealing to a broader audience who might want to experience the hands-free functionality Alexa does so well at, but with the third-party services that they’re already familiar with.
Meanwhile, Amazon also now allows Pandora users to set their account as the default music station service, so that if you request a streaming radio station it won’t automatically come through Prime Music.
As well as the original Amazon Echo, the change also affects the Amazon Echo Tap and Amazon Dot.