Amazon’s Alexa is changing into much less hospitable to individuals who favor to purchase music as a substitute of simply signing up for a music subscription service reminiscent of Spotify.
Till lately, Amazon Music Storage was one of the simplest ways to stream your private music assortment onto Alexa units—offered it was encoded as MP3 recordsdata. However in December, Amazon stopped supporting new uploads for the free service; it stopped accepting paid subscriptions a month later. In January 2019, Amazon will shut down Music Storage totally, rendering your MP3 assortment inaccessible on Echo units until you bought the songs immediately by means of Amazon’s digital retailer.
That doesn’t imply you’re out of choices. To play your personal MP3s (or music encoded in different codecs, reminiscent of FLAC) on the Echo or different Alexa units, you possibly can nonetheless use Plex or My Media Server for Alexa, each of which let you stream songs that you simply’ve saved on one other machine. Alternatively, a service known as My Pod allows you to to stash some songs in Google Drive and entry them with customized voice instructions. These companies aren’t as full-featured or as easy-to-use as Amazon Music was, however a minimum of they nonetheless allow you to entry your music assortment with voice instructions.
Right here’s how one can preserve the music enjoying:
Possibility 1: Plex Media Server
To have Plex play your music recordsdata on an Amazon Echo, you’ll want a media server machine that’s at all times on and might run Plex Media Server. That may embody a desktop pc (working Home windows, MacOS, or Linux), a NAS (network-attached storage) box, or an Nvidia Protect TV. Plex doesn’t at the moment help streaming to Alexa units from Plex Cloud servers.
Streaming your music this fashion additionally has some limitations in comparison with Amazon Music and different companies that don’t require putting in an Alexa ability, reminiscent of Spotify and Pandora:
- Complete-home music isn’t supported, so you possibly can hear on just one speaker at a time
- You’ll be able to’t set Plex because the default streaming service, and you could use particular syntax (both “Alexa, ask Plex…” or “Alexa, inform Plex…”) to play your songs every time.
- Responses from Plex take barely longer than Alexa’s built-in music companies.
- Album artwork isn’t supported on the Echo Present.
Nonetheless on board? Right here’s how one can arrange Plex for Alexa music playback:
1. Sign up for a free Plex account, which is required to make use of the service with Alexa.
2. Download Plex Media Server to the machine the place your music recordsdata are saved, and comply with the set up directions. Throughout this course of, you’ll be prompted to specify the folder the place your music is situated.
three. Go to app.plex.tv to launch Plex from any telephone, pill, or pc.
four. Within the left sidebar, choose Settings.
5. Within the settings menu, choose Distant Entry from the left sidebar, then choose Allow Distant Entry. (Plex says this isn’t obligatory when you’re working the most recent media server software program, however nonetheless suggests it anyway.)
6. Should you didn’t arrange your music folder throughout set up, return to the principle menu. Below the Libraries part of the left sidebar, spotlight Music, press the “…” icon, then choose Edit. Use the “Add folders” menu to point out Plex the place your music recordsdata are situated.
7. Now that you simply’re completed establishing Plex, set up the Plex ability for Alexa, both directly through the web or by trying to find “Plex” underneath the Expertise part of the Alexa cellular app.
eight. Signal into your Plex account, then hit the “Authorize” button.
9. Together with your Alexa machine, say “Alexa, Ask Plex to vary my server.” Should you solely have one server, Alexa will set it routinely. In any other case, hear for the listing of server numbers, and reply with the one you’d like to make use of.
Now, you should use Plex to play your music assortment on the Amazon Echo. Plex’s help web page has an inventory of voice instructions you should use, however listed here are some helpful ones:
- ”Ask Plex to play music by [artist name]”
- ”Inform Plex to play the album [album name]” (This tends to solely work when you don’t say the artist’s identify as nicely.)
- ”Ask Plex to play the track [song name]”
- ”Inform Plex to shuffle the playlist ”
- ”Ask Plex what I ought to take heed to.”
- ”Inform Plex to play some music.”
- ”Ask Plex to throw down some phat beats.”
You may as well say “Subsequent monitor,” “Earlier monitor,” “Pause,” “Play,” and “Cease” with out having to say “ask Plex” first.
Possibility 2: My Media for Alexa
My Media is just like Plex, in that it requires establishing a media server machine for streaming your music recordsdata to the Echo. It additionally has among the similar restrictions: Complete-home streaming isn’t supported, and you could use particular “Ask My Media…” syntax to begin listening.
However My Media does have some benefits: It will possibly index playlists from iTunes and play music by style, and it doesn’t have the Echo Present playback points I skilled with Plex. (It nonetheless doesn’t help album artwork, although.)
On the draw back, the service isn’t free like Plex. You’ll be able to attempt it for seven days, however after that it prices $5 per yr for a single media server and entry from as much as two Amazon accounts, $10 per yr for 2 media servers and 5 Amazon accounts, and $15 per yr for 5 media servers and 25 Amazon accounts.
Right here’s how one can set it up:
1. Download My Media for Alexa, run the set up file, and undergo the setup course of. (If select to not launch the My Media for Alexa Console after set up completes, discover and launch it in your program listing to proceed setup in your internet browser.)
2. Within the My Media for Alexa Console, click on the inexperienced Subsequent button, signal into your Amazon account and choose Enable on the subsequent web page.
three. Choose “No” when requested when you’d wish to routinely obtain pattern media.
four. On the left sidebar, choose Watch Folders, then hit the Add Folder button. Choose the folder or folders the place your songs are saved.
5. Set up the My Media ability for Alexa, both directly through the web or by trying to find “My Media” underneath the Expertise part of the Alexa cellular app.
6. Non-compulsory: To routinely share iTunes playlists with My Media For Alexa, open iTunes, then go to the Preferences menu. Click on the Superior tab, then choose “Share iTunes Library XML with different purposes.” Return to the My Media for Alexa console, choose ‘iTunes Library” from the left sidebar, and click on “Index iTunes Library.” Select the folder the place your XML recordsdata are situated (sometimes /Customers/[username]/Music/iTunes on macOS and C:Customers[username]MusiciTunes on Home windows).
Now, you should use My Media to play songs on the Echo or different Alexa units. Listed below are some voice command examples:
- ”Ask My Media to play music by [artist].”
- ”Ask My Media to play the album [album] by [artist].”
- ”Ask My Media to play the track [song] by [artist].”
- ”Ask My Media to play my playlist.”
- ”Ask My Media to play [genre] music.”
- ”Ask My Media to show shuffle [on/off].”
- ”Ask My Media to show loop [on/off].”
You may as well say “Subsequent monitor,” “Earlier monitor,” “Pause,” “Play,” and “Cease” with out having to say “ask My Media” first.
Possibility three: My Pod
My Pod is a straightforward technique to play particular person albums or playlists by means of Alexa utilizing hyperlinks to Google Drive folders with MP3 and AAC music recordsdata in them. (Help for Dropbox and OneDrive hyperlinks is “experimental,” however neither has labored for me.) It additionally works with playlists on YouTube. Whereas My Pod isn’t an important possibility for accessing your whole music assortment, a minimum of it spares you from having to arrange a media server.
Right here’s how one can set it up:
1. Create a folder in Google Drive for no matter album or playlist you wish to hear, then add your songs to it. (Observe: My Pod solely performs songs in alphabetical order. To rearrange the order of songs, you’ll want so as to add monitor numbers to the start of your file names in every folder.)
2. Go to mypodapp.com and choose Get Began and Sign up with Amazon. Enter your account credentials, and choose “Enable” on the subsequent web page.
three. Below the Create Playlist heading, sort the playlist identify you’d like to talk when utilizing Alexa voice instructions (reminiscent of “Funk” or “Indie Rock”) then click on Create.
four. In Google Drive, proper click on on the playlist folder you created, then select “Get sharable hyperlink.” Copy the hyperlink to your clipboard.
5. Return to the My Pod playlist web page, then paste the hyperlink into the “Full hyperlink URL” discipline.
6. Within the “Hyperlink Tag / Identify discipline,” you should use the identical identify as your playlist, then hit Create Hyperlink. (Select a separate identify if you wish to embody a number of folders underneath one playlist. You’ll be able to hyperlink extra folders underneath extra names after creating the primary one.)
7. Set up the My Pod ability for Alexa, both directly through the web or by trying to find “My Pod” underneath the Expertise part of the Alexa cellular app. Then click on “Enable” within the immediate that seems.
Now, you should use My Pod to play any folder of songs you’ve uploaded to Google Drive. Simply say, “Alexa, ask My Pod to play my playlist.” You’ll be able to then use “Subsequent monitor,” “Earlier monitor,” “Pause,” “Play,” and “Cease” to regulate playback, with out having to say “ask My Pod” first.
The nuclear possibility: Goodbye, Alexa
If any of this looks like an excessive amount of trouble, think about investing in a distinct speaker ecosystem as a substitute. Google Home integrates properly with Google Play Music, which helps you to retailer as much as 50,000 songs at no cost. Apple’s HomePod helps iCloud Music Library, both by means of the $10-per-month Apple Music service or the $25-per-year iTunes Match service.
Should you’re already too invested in Amazon’s speaker ecosystem, you’ll simply need to make the most effective of a sorry scenario.