The popular Amazon Echo speaker system (and the Alexa personal assistant that comes with it) seem to be fully integrated into the Amazon ecosystem, but does that mean you need a Prime account to take advantage of the Echo?
Echo Tricks for Everyone: Alexa Queries, Sports, Traffic, Podcasts and More
You can absolutely use all Echo products including but not limited to Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Show without purchasing a Prime membership. The vast majority of features are available whether or not you have a Prime account, including the wide range of features we’ve written about here on How-To Geek.
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A Sans Prime membership allows you to use the Echo communication features to call and text your friends, and use your Echo devices as an intercom system in your home. Plus, you don’t need Prime to ask general questions about Alexa, check the weather, traffic or sports scores, set alarms and timers, or add things to your shopping list. You can even listen to the news and also enjoy podcasts.
Even some of the features that look like they should be premium are free to use, including the ability to extend the Echo with third-party skills that allow you to perform all sorts of useful actions, such as controlling the media center with your voice or a trigger. SmartHome products are like your lights.
It’s a good news! You get access to almost everything for the price of the Echo itself. Now let’s look at what you’re missing out on (and how to fill life’s biggest hole without creating Prime).
Echo Tricks for Prime Members: Shopping, Exclusive Deals, and Music
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There are three things you’re missing out on if you’re using Echo without a Prime account. The first two missing parts may or may not matter to you: voice purchases and exclusive offers for Primer owners with Echo modules.
While not everyone enjoys asking Alexa to buy something particularly eye-catching – I know I enjoy comparing purchases online, looking at reviews, and ordering items manually instead – it’s quite convenient to easily reorder something from your kitchen right when you I understand you ran out of trouble just by telling Alexa to do it. Without Prime, you lose the «future is present» superpower.
In addition, Amazon is actively promoting the use of the Echo system by offering Echo-only deals to Prime members in which you must ordering an item through Alexa to get a discount or even get an item is a pretty sneaky way to get people using the system to be indifferent to the trials.
For most people, these issues aren’t necessarily a roadblock, but there’s a big feature that you’ll definitely miss out on in Prime Music without a Prime account. Out of the box access to the Prime Music library where you can give Alexa simple commands like «Alexa, play some alternative rock» or «play some Billy Joel» and get easy access to the millions of songs in the Prime library. a feature that most Echo users like, myself included.
All is not lost on the music front if you don’t have Prime. Let’s take a look at how to fill the hole left by Prime Music with other music services and content.
How to fill the main musical gap
There are several ways to fill the gap in your Alexa experience left by the lack of a Prime Music library, and how you do this depends a lot on how you want to make your music.
If you’re primarily interested in using Echo for BGM without having to focus on specific songs, then using Pandora with Echo is a great choice. You can use a free Pandora account with ads, or $36/year for a premium ad-free service. Activating Pandora with your Echo is as easy as opening the Books & Music menu in the Alexa app and pasting your login credentials under the Pandora login.
If you want a more focused experience where you can select individual songs and create playlists, Spotify is $9.99 per month (the free option doesn’t work with Echo) and can also be easily linked in the same Books & Music menu to the Alexa app. If you’re using Pandora or Spotify, check out our guide to changing your default music service to Echo. Without the change, you need to provide the name of the service, such as «Alexa, play Pearl Jam Station on Pandora», but with the default switch to this service, you no longer need to name it.
For services that don’t directly support Echo (or require a premium service), you can always — at the cost of losing voice integration with Alexa — simply connect your mobile device to Echo via Bluetooth.
Plus, if you want to supplement these two streaming services with your own music, you can also upload up to 250 MP3s to your Amazon account (no Prime membership required) and they’ll be available through your echo.
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And finally, if you decide to go with a dedicated streaming service, we encourage you to read our information about what you get with an Amazon Prime account. Prime deals might have been rare back then, but if you’re planning on paying $36-$120 a year for music streaming, you might want to reconsider and pay $99 for Prime, where you get not only Prime Music, but a huge bunch of others. benefits such as unlimited photo storage, video streaming, free books and audiobooks, and more.