Here's How to Play Music You Own on an Amazon Echo (2023)

Amazon's Alexa isn't as hospitable as it used to be for people who would rather buy music than simply sign up for a subscription service like Spotify or Amazon's own service.

While Amazon once allowed users to upload their personal media collections to play on Echo speakers, this feature was discontinued a few years ago. The move has effectively locked out people who have large personal music collections from ripped CDs and downloads.

Fortunately, there are some solutions. To play your own MP3s (or music encoded in other formats such as FLAC) on your Echo or other Alexa-compatible speakers, you can usePlexusÖMy media server for Alexa, both of which let you stream music stored on another device. These services aren't as comprehensive or easy to use as Amazon Music, but at least you can access your music collection using voice commands.

To keep music playing:

In order for Plex to be able to play your music files on an Amazon Echo, you need a media server device that is always on and capable of running Plex Media Server. This can include a desktop computer (running Windows, MacOS or Linux), aNAS (Network Attached Storage)-Boxor an Nvidia Shield TV Pro box.

Streaming your music this way has some limitations:

  • Whole house music isn't supported, so you can only hear one speaker at a time
  • You can't set Plex as the default streaming service and have to use a specific syntax ("Alexa, ask Plex..." or "Alexa, tell Plex...") every time you play your music.
  • Plex responses take a little longer than Alexa's built-in music services.

are you still on board To set up Plex for Alexa music playback:

1.Sign up for a free Plex account, which is required to use the service with Alexa.

2.Download Plex Mediaserverto the device where your music files are stored and follow the installation instructions. During this process you will be asked to specify the folder where your music is located.

3rd visitapplication.plex.tvto launch Plex from any phone, tablet, or computer.

4. Select in the left sidebarIdeas.

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5. From the Settings menu on the left sidebar, select Remote Access and then select Enable Remote Access. (Plex says this isn't necessary if you're running the latest media server software, but suggests it anyway.)

6. If you didn't set up your music folder during installation, return to the main menu. In the Libraries section of the left sidebar, highlight Music, press the "..." icon and select Edit. Use the Add Folder menu to show Plex where your music files are located.

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7. After you finish setting up Plex, install the Plex Skill for Alexa ordirectly over the webor by searching for "Plex" in the Skills section of the Alexa mobile app.

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8. Login to your Plex account and click on the "Authorize" button.

9. On your Alexa device, say "Alexa, ask Plex to change my server."If you only have one server, Alexa sets it up automatically. If not, listen to the list of server numbers and reply with the one you want to use.

Now you can use Plex to play your music collection on Amazon Echo. The Plex support site hasa list of voice commands you can use, but here are some useful ones:

  • "Ask Plex to play music by [artist name]"
  • "Tell Plex to play album [album name]" (this usually only works ifNOalso say the name of the artist.)
  • "Ask Plex to play the song [song name]"
  • "Shuffle Mode End"
  • "Ask Plex what you want me to listen to."
  • "Tell Plex to play music."
  • "Ask Plex to post some great beats." (Seriously, it works.)

You can also say "Next Track", "Previous Track", "Pause", "Play" and "Stop" without having to say "Ask Plex" first.

Option 2: My media for Alexa

My Media is similar to Plex in that you need to set up a media server device to stream your music files to the Echo. It also has some of the same limitations: it doesn't support whole-home streaming, and you have to use the specific "Ask my media..." syntax to start listening.

But My Media has some advantages: it can index iTunes playlists and play music by genre, and it also offers a workaround (if a bit clunky) for multi-room music playback.

On the other hand, the service is not free like Plex. You can try it for seven days, but then it costs $5.50 per year for a single media server and access for up to two Amazon accounts, $11 per year for two media servers and five Amazon accounts, and $16.50 per year year for five media servers. and 25 Amazon accounts. (You can try it free for seven days without credit card information.)

How to set it up:

1.Download My Media on Alexa, run the setup file and follow the installation process. (If you don't want to launch My Media for Alexa Console after the installation is complete, find and launch it from your programs list to continue setup in your web browser.)

2. On the My Media for Alexa console, click the green Next button, sign in to your Amazon account and select Allow on the next page.

3. Choose No when asked if you want to download the sample media automatically.

4. Select Watched Folders on the left sidebar and click the Add Folder button. Select the folder or folders where your music is stored.

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5. Install the My Media skill for Alexa, ordirectly over the webor by searching for "My Media" in the Skills section of the Alexa mobile app.

6. Optional: To automatically share iTunes playlists with My Media for Alexa, open iTunes and go to the Settings menu. Click the Advanced tab and select Share iTunes Library XML with other applications. Return to the My Media for Alexa console, select iTunes Library in the left sidebar, and click Index iTunes Library. Select the folder where your XML files are located (usually /Users/[username]/Music/iTunes on macOS and C:Users[username]MusiciTunes on Windows).

Now you can use My Media to play music on your Echo or other Alexa devices. Here are some examples of voice commands:

  • "Ask my media to play music by [artist]."
  • "Ask my media to play album [album] by [artist]."
  • "My media is asking to play the song [song] by [artist]."
  • "My media is asking to play my playlist."
  • "Ask my media to play music from [genre]."
  • "Ask my media to turn random mode on/off."
  • "Ask my media to turn the loop on/off."

You can also say "Next Track", "Previous Track", "Pause", "Play" and "Stop" without having to say "Ask My Media" first.

The alternative solution for multiroom music:For audio to work throughout the house with your personal music collection, you need to set up one of your Echo speakers to automatically trigger playback on multiple Alexa devices at once. That's how it's done:

1. Open the Alexa app on your phone and select the "Devices" tab.

2. Select the room where you will speak to Alexa.

3. Under the Speakers heading, select Change.

4. Activate any other speakers you want to play music on.

Unfortunately, you'll have to go back and deselect those speakers if you only want to play through a single speaker again, but it's worth the extra work if you're preparing for a long listening session. (While this solution should theoretically work with Plex as well, I was only able to get it to work with My Media.)

Option 3: Mi-Pod

For a quick and easy way to play individual songs or playlists through Alexa, visit My Pod. On this page you can paste a link to any folder on Dropbox, Google Drive or Amazon Drive and play the songs in that folder with a voice command.

The free version is pretty limited: you can only store a maximum of 10 tracks and you have to pay $3 per month or $35.50 per year for unlimited links. Users with large collections should consider Plex or My Media, but My Pod might work to quickly play a small number of songs:

1. Create a folder in Google Drive, Dropbox or Amazon Drive and share the folder to create a link that you can copy. (Note: My Pod only plays tracks in alphabetical order. To rearrange the order of tracks, you must add the track numbers to the beginning of the filenames in each folder.)

2nd visitmypodapp.comand select Get Started and then Sign up with Amazon. Enter your account details and select "Allow" on the next page.

3. Click the Shorten Link option on the left sidebar. Paste your link into the box and click "Shorten".

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4. Install the My Pod skill for Alexa, ordirectly over the webor by searching for "My Pod" in the Skills section of the Alexa mobile app. Then click “Allow” in the message that appears.

5. Use the voice command displayed on the My Pod website to play your link content. (Must be a short string of numbers.)

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While My Pod also lets you name your folders instead of identifying them by number, I've had trouble getting this to work reliably. Again, setting up a media server is a much better option if you want to select from your library using voice commands.

The Nuclear Option: Bye, Alexa

If that sounds like a hassle, consider investing in a different speaker ecosystem.

With Google Home and Nest speakers, you can usePlex and various other appsto stream your personal music collection, including multi-room speaker setups. You can also connect AirPlay-compatible speakers such asApple's HomePod Minito easily play music from your iPhone, iPad or Mac. You don't get the same voice control options as above, but overall you get a setting that suits your music a little better. And if you want the best multi-room audio experience, consider Sonos speakers.

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