Amazon on Thursday announced that everyone with an Alexa-enabled device can now listen to music for free. The free tier is ad-supported, as Billboard’s report suggested earlier this week, but it allows anyone with an Echo to play music without paying a subscription fee (though, as you would expect, there are some restrictions).
If you don’t have an Amazon Prime membership or a subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited, you can now listen to an ad-supported selection of playlists and stations on your Alexa device. If you’re looking to start a station, you can do so based on a song, artist, era, or genre, by saying “Alexa, play the [artist/song/etc.] station.” Or you can choose one of Amazon’s many preset playlists, including Country Heat, Fuego Latino, and a ton of others.
Amazon Music doesn’t have quite the reach of Spotify or Apple Music, but it is now one of the only other major music services with an ad-supported free tier, joining the likes of Spotify. That said, the selection available in this free tier is far more limited than what you can get from Spotify (which offers its massive library free on certain devices without a subscription), but if you own an Echo and don’t pay for a Spotify subscription, you can’t listen to Spotify on the Echo anyway. But now you can listen to ad-supported playlists and stations from Amazon Music.
As Amazon (and several of its competitors) attempt to take over your home with a variety of smart devices, this free tier makes the Echo just a little bit less expendable for all of the users who aren’t currently paying for an on-demand music service. And maybe it will convince them to sign up for Amazon Music Unlimited in the future.