It's to Amazon's credit that you can pair your Amazon Echo ($40 at Amazon) 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!
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.
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.