Spotify has worked with Amazon Echo since 2016, but only for premium subscribers. Today, that changes as Spotify says its free tier will now stream across Alexa-powered devices, as well as other smart speakers from Sonos and Bose. The Alexa support will be available for users in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand. Support for Sonos and Bose is more broadly available to users around the world.
In the case of Alexa devices, like Amazon Echo speakers or the Fire TV, users will be able to ask Alexa to play Spotify's playlist, like "Today's Top Hits," or their personalized playlist, "Discover Weekly," among others. The service also can be set as the default, so you can use commands like "Play my Discover Weekly," "Like this song" or "Pause," and more, without having to say "on Spotify."
Meanwhile, on Sonos and Bose speakers, users can set up Spotify Connect from the Spotify app. This works with Bose smart speakers and soundbars, as well as all Sonos smart speakers, including the new indoor/outdoor speaker Sonos Move and the Symfonisk Ikea WiFi Speaker, integrated with the Sonos Home Sound System.
To use Spotify Connect, you'll tap the "Devices" icon on the screen to select which speaker you want to use. This will also require the Bose and Sonos devices are updated to the latest firmware, the company says.
The expanded support for smart speakers comes only a day after Amazon directly challenged Spotify with a major move of its own. On Tuesday, Amazon announced its own music service would become free across devices, including the web, Fire TV, iOS and Android. Before, the free, ad-supported music service was only available on Echo devices. While the service is a rival of sorts to other free services, like Spotify and Pandora, it has a more limited catalog of just 2 million tracks. That makes it better for those who only casually listen to music stations and curated playlists.
Spotify's stock dropped almost 5% on Tuesday after Amazon's announcement, however.
By now making Spotify's free tier more accessible, it's likely that many people will choose Spotify's free streaming over Amazon's free streaming, given the larger catalog of over 50 million songs. In addition, Spotify is best known for its personalization capabilities that help introduce users to new music based on their likes and listening history, which continues to be a major draw.
However, Amazon is only one of many challengers Spotify faces these days, with Apple Music, YouTube Music and regional players in big markets like India and China, also vying for users.
In addition, TikTok owner ByteDance is said to be preparing to move into music streaming, aiming for markets like India, Indonesia and Brazil. That's a huge threat not only because of the markets it's targeting but because you can now draw a direct line between TikTlk top tracks and No. 1 tracks and hits on Spotify, which gives it a competitive advantage.