Spotify Extends Free Streaming Services to Alexa Devices
Amazon Echo and other Alexa-powered devices can now play audio content from Spotify for free. The streaming service announced this week that a subscription is no longer necessary to access its library of music and other audio content through Alexa.
Alexa Gets Same Support as Google Assistant
Before this update, only Spotify users who paid the monthly subscription fee could stream on Sonos, Bose, and Amazon devices that use Alexa as a voice assistant. The free version was limited to a shortlist of smart speakers using Google Assistant, including Google’s own stable of Nest smart speakers. Despite Apple recently making it easier to play Spotify music through Siri, the Apple Homepod is still not on the list, although it can stream Spotify music via a smartphone.
Spotify’s free streaming service is supported by intermittent ads and lacks features like being able to save music to play offline and skipping an unlimited number of songs in a playlist, but it is still enormously popular, as Spotify has 217 million monthly users and around 100 million paying subscribers. The free version of Spotify is only available to the new devices in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States at the moment.
Alexa Turns Up the Music
The support for Alexa devices comes hot on the heels of SiriusXM adding an archive of more than 10,000 hours of its shows to Alexa users this week. The update also includes personalized music stations through Pandora and the ability to sync across Alexa-powered devices. It’s almost the inverse of the Spotify news, as the extra SiriusXM features are limited to subscribers. The competition between voice assistants is running almost in parallel to one among audio streaming services. Google Assistant integrated SiriusXM into Google Nest devices just last month, and both voice assistants have been added to a rapidly growing array of devices built by both parent companies and partner brands like Bose and Sonos.
Google and Amazon are both keen to get more people to build smart homes around their respective voice assistants. Google has been adding a variety of new smart home devices to its lineup, including the Nest Wifi, a router with Google Assistant built-in. Amazon too has been pumping out a lot of new Alexa-powered devices as it angles for dominance in the industry. Supporting the free version of Spotify eliminates one more reason people might buy a Nest Home over an Echo. The choices people make early on when deciding on a smart speaker can influence their choices in similar products for years afterward, so it makes sense that Alexa wants to fill in any gaps in its services compared to Google Assistant should any of the millions of Spotify’s free services make their decision based on its availability.