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Listening to music is undoubtedly one of the most popular ways to use a smart home speaker – but what if you don’t subscribe to any premium streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music? Well, there are now some free options available.
This week, Amazon and Google both launched free, ad-supported music streaming tiers for users of their smart speakers. To be clear, you won’t have the full capabilities of paid streaming services. But, of course, they’re completely free. Here’s what you should know about them.
Amazon’s free music tier, which was soft-launched in the U.S. on Thursday, will allow non-Prime subscribers access to a selection of music on the Echo platforms.
The free tier will allow users to listen to popular global playlists and streaming stations, like Country Heat, Fuego Latino, and others, at no charge.
Of course, on-demand streaming isn’t included in the free tier. And there will be ads. But it’s a way for users of the popular Echo lineup or other Alexa-compatible devices to play some tunes without paying for any subscription services.
To start using the feature on a device with Amazon Alexa, simply try out the following voice commands.
- “Alexa, play the playlist Pop Culture.”
- “Alexa, play the Imagine Dragon station.”
- “Alexa, play 80s music.”
- Alexa, play rap music.”
The free Google Home music option is essentially an ad-supported version of YouTube Music. It was launched this week in the U.S., Australia, Great Britain, Mexico, and other regions across the globe.
Under the free tier, users will have access to popular playlists and stations on YouTube Music. There will be restrictions on stations and skips — only six skips are allowed an hour.
Similarly, users won’t be able to request specific songs, albums or artists. If you try, YouTube Music will play tracks that are “closely related.” But the free tier will also be supported by other devices with Google Assistant, like Polk speakers.
If you’d like to try out the feature on your own Google Assistant device, just use some of the following voice commands.
- “Hey Google, play Latin vibes.”
- “Hey Google, play Ariana Grande.”
- “Hey Google, play a dinner party playlist.”
- “Hey Google, play a power playlist.”