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Amazon Echo syncs with Spotify to bring more music into the mix

Spotify's premium subscribers will now be able to stream tracks and playlists to Amazon's popular smart speaker, complete with Alexa-powered voice controls.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Much has been made of Alexa's growing role in the smart home (not to mention her pizza-ordering prowess). But today, Amazon is turning Echo's attention back to music by announcing an integration with Spotify that will allow its premium subscribers to stream the service using the popular smart speaker.

The integration includes native voice command support for Alexa, Echo's cloud-connected artificial intelligence. After linking your Spotify account with Amazon in the Alexa app, you'll be able to stream Spotify tracks to Echo by saying things like, "Alexa, play Wilco on Spotify," or, "Alexa, play my workout playlist." You'll also be also to use Spotify Connect to transfer your settings to Echo directly from the Spotify app.

The rub to Echo's Spotify integration is that it will only work for Spotify Premium subscribers, though both parties point out that new users can try Spotify Premium free for the first thirty days.

Spotify has long been a notable gap in Echo's lineup of music streaming services. Until today, you've had Alexa-powered access to songs in the Amazon Prime Music Library, along with iHeartRadio, TuneIn and Pandora. That limitation forced Spotify users -- roughly 20 million of whom are paid subscribers -- to play tracks using their phones or tablets, then stream the audio to Echo like a regular Bluetooth speaker.

Along with giving those Spotify subscribers a good reason to consider adding Echo to their homes, the integration helps fill in the gaps in Alexa's music collection. Amazon claims its Prime Music service features more than 1 million tracks, but Spotify dwarfs that number with more than 30 million songs to its name. Time will tell whether or not that gets people who've already bought into Echo to pony up for Spotify Premium as well, but right now, the integration seems like a win for both parties.

Amazon currently sells Echo online and at select retail outlets for $180. A smaller, more portable, and less expensive version of the speaker -- code-named Fox -- is reported to be in the works.