Amazon Echo adds Spotify to its musical repertoire

Amazon Echo adds Spotify to its bag of tricks. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Amazon Echo adds Spotify to its bag of tricks. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Amazon’s Echo smart speaker just upped its music game, adding Spotify streaming to its ever-growing list of skills. Now playing your favorite artists and playlists is just a voice command away — at least if you’re a Spotify Premium subscriber.

“Now playing your favorite music from Spotify is as easy as asking Alexa,” said Toni Reid, director of Amazon Alexa, in a press release about the new integration Thursday. “Music is one of the most popular features on Amazon Echo, and Spotify has been one of the most requested services, so we’re excited to bring it to our customers today.”

It’s the latest move to make Echo, and its snappy A.I. helper, Alexa, a central part of users’ daily lives. The shockingly effective Echo already makes it easy to listen to internet radio, control certain smart devices, and get answers to questions using simple voice commands.

It might sound like something you don’t need, but trust us: You should buy an Echo right now if you want a taste of the shiny, Star Trek-like future.

Spotify integration makes Echo even more appealing for those who subscribe to the streaming service — and might convince Spotify’s freemium dabblers to pay extra for Premium features.

With more than 20 million people paying $9.99 a month, Spotify Premium is the largest on-demand pay service around. Still, far more people still use Spotify’s free tier, and Apple Music (which doesn’t offer a free service aside from a three-month trial) is nipping at Spotify Premium’s heels with 10 million paying subscribers.

Adding Spotify Premium to Echo’s stable of streaming services means access to a much broader catalog of on-demand music. While Echo already works with streaming services like Pandora, iHeartRadio and TuneIn, these only serve up radio-style listening, with no capability to play a specific song at a particular time.

Echo supports Amazon’s own Prime Music subscription service, which offers on-demand streaming for members of Amazon Prime, but Prime’s music catalog isn’t as robust as Spotify’s, so requests for specific tracks often end with Alexa serving up 30-second “samples” rather than full songs.

Spotify Premium on Amazon Echo: Everybody wins

Bringing Spotify Premium to Amazon Echo is a win-win for two companies offering compelling products: It could encourage Echo-loving music fans to upgrade to Spotify’s paid tier, and it’s yet another reason for Spotify addicts to check out Amazon’s shockingly useful smart speaker.

And if you’re already in both those camps, you’ve already won. Bringing Spotify Premium to your Amazon Echo is a two-minute affair. Just link your Spotify account using the Alexa app, and you’ll be streaming whatever you want in no time.

Previously, Echo worked with Spotify and iTunes — but only if you paired a device to the speaker, which sort of dumbs down Amazon’s smart speaker. The new integration also brings Spotify Connect, which basically turns your smartphone or tablet into a remote for the streaming service.

For me, this helps Echo close the loop when it comes to music. The lightning-fast way it starts playing tracks with a simple voice command is hugely addictive. And now that I’m not limited to Prime Music’s anemic catalog, I’m sure I’ll listen to far more music on Amazon’s awesome speaker.