Make Spotify or Pandora the default music player on your Amazon Echo

You don't have to use Amazon's music service to listen to tunes, especially if you pay for a subscription.

David Priest Former editor
David Priest is an award-winning writer and editor who formerly covered home security for CNET.
Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
David Priest
Rick Broida
2 min read

Got an Echo? Play some music.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

It's to Amazon's credit that you can pair your Amazon Echo smart speaker with third-party music services like  Spotify  and  Pandora . Amazon has its own music service, and no doubt would love to sell you even more music. But if you prefer those other services, or even subscribe, you can play through one of those instead by saying " Alexa , play Brendan Benson's 'My Old, Familiar Friend' on Spotify." And presto!

Read more: Best music streaming service of 2019: Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, Amazon and Google Play compared

Of course, having to tack on the name of your preferred service every time you ask for music is a little cumbersome. Good news! It's possible to make Spotify and other streaming services your default music source on the Echo, thereby eliminating the need to say "on Spotify" after each request. Here's how.

Screenshot by David Priest/CNET

1. Open the Alexa app on your phone, and tap the hamburger menu (the three parallel lines) in the upper left-hand corner.

A common mistake is to tap Skills & Games, and select the Music & Audio category, where you can see a lot of radio, podcast and ambient music options. But this is not where you'll find the big music streaming services you're looking for.

2. From the menu, tap Settings.

3. Under Alexa Preferences, tap Music. This is the menu you will need to come back to any time you want to manage your music settings.

4. In the Music menu, tap Link New Service. Here, you can choose any of a number of services: Amazon Music, Apple Music , Spotify, iHeartRadio , TuneIn, Tidal, Vevo, Pandora, Deezer, SiriusXM and Gimme. Google Music is not an option.

5. When you select any service, you'll be directed to a new page. Tap, Enable to Use, and then type in your account credentials to link to most of the services. Not every brand will need to link to your account.

6. Once you link a new account, your chosen service will appear in the Music menu. Now, scroll to the bottom of the Music Menu and tap Choose default music services.

7. Select whichever services you want for your default library (these are general artist and song requests) and default station (your station requests). 

Now, you'll be able to listen to music through the service by simply asking for a song or station of your choosing -- no more "on Spotify," "on Tidal" and so on.