If you don’t subscribe to Amazon Prime or Amazon’s Music Unlimited service, asking your Echo to play tunes generally involves Alexa tapping you up for cash like a world-class hustler. Not any more.
Amazon has followed in the footsteps of rival Spotify by providing music free of charge.
There are a couple of caveats, mind. Firstly, you have to listen to occasional adverts for the privilege. Second, you can’t request specific songs. Like Spotify’s free tier, instead you have to listen to playlists based on the kind of thing that you want.
So you can ask for 90s music, say, or rap music. But if you want to listen to a specific track, it looks like you have to wait for it to come up naturally as part of a broader playlist. Or just go and find a thing called a “compact disc” and a compatible “compact disc player” if you really must.
So as an alternative to a paid Spotify, Apple Music of Amazon Music Unlimited account, it’s undoubtedly weak. But if you treat it as a semi-customisable radio station, it sounds pretty competitive – as long as the adverts aren’t too relentless.
Of course, your enjoyment of any free music is somewhat dependent on which smart speaker you’re using and not all Amazon Echos are created equal when it comes to sound quality. To get some expert buying advice, be sure to consult our list of the best smart speakers before getting your card out...