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Amazon Alexa & Echo: Looping Songs, Playlists and Routines

One of the nice features within the Amazon Alexa platform is the ability to loop music playing on your Amazon Echo devices, whether it’s an individual song or a playlist. You can also (sort of) loop songs kicked off from routines, granted with some caveats. This guide covers how to do this.

Looping music on your Amazon Echo can be as simple as saying “Alexa, loop mode on”. But you can do a whole lot more than this, such as looping playlists.

If you prefer video, feel free to check out the video version of this guide below, but please note that the playlist section is more up to date in this guide (you can now loop playlists in just a single command/routine):

The benefits of looping songs and playlists

Looping songs is where a song finishes playing, and it then starts again – i.e. it’s a “repeat mode”. The same is true for playlists: whether you have 1-2 songs or 100 songs in a playlist, once the playlist has finished, it’ll start playing again.

Looping music in this way has a number of benefits and uses:

  • If you recently heard a new song that you love, you can keep playing it over and over without needing to keep saying “Alexa, play [song title]” every few minutes. This can also be true of your children who may want to listen to Baby Shark or Gummy Bear over and over – a potential annoyance, but it’s good that loop mode exists to make this process simple!
  • As sleep noise at night – you can just keep repeating the same track over and over. I’ve spoken before about how I like sleep sounds at night as they can improve sleep quality, and being able to buy a one-off 99¢ sleep sound track and play it on repeat is much cheaper than paying monthly for a sleep sound/music subscription.
  • If you’re having a party and want some background music, a playlist is easy to setup and you won’t have any problems with weird songs being played by Alexa/Google Assistant. However once the playlist ends, it’ll either stop the music or play a ‘song radio’. In this case, it’s much better to loop the playlist so it’ll just start over from the start of the playlist.
  • You can also loop songs and playlists as part of a routine (with some caveats), allowing you to build chains of smart home automations that include repeating music. This can be especially useful at night to play music for a certain length of time (or all night), without having to try and remember the sleep sound track name and say it each and every night. Just build it into a routine (which may also turn the lights) and it can then be repeated throughout the night.

In general, the support for looping music on Amazon Echo devices is fairly good (something I cover in the next two sections) – although there is a caveat with looping songs within routines, which I explore at the end of this article.

How to loop individual songs on Amazon’s Alexa/Echo

Echo Dot 3rd generation model, with a blue 'listening' ring after a voice command was issued.
My Echo Dot (3rd gen) listening to my command/

Looping your new favorite song (or simply a song to annoy everyone else in the house!) is very straight-forward.

You firstly say “Alexa, play [song name]” such as “Alexa, play Baby Shark. Your Echo will reply by saying “Playing Baby Shark by Pinkfong on Amazon Music“.

Then when the song has started, you say “Alexa, loop mode on” and Alexa will reply with “Alexa, loop mode on.

That’s it! In other words, the only new thing you must do is say “Alexa, loop mode on“. It’ll then keep playing the requested song on repeat after it has finished.

When you’re bored of the repeating song, you can disable it in two different ways:

  • Alexa, stop” – this will stop the song playing completely, and clear any ‘loop mode’ settings. In other words, the next requested song won’t keep repeating, it’ll just play once as normal.
  • Alexa, loop mode off” – this will keep playing the song, but it just won’t repeat anymore. So once it’s finished playing, it won’t loop anymore. This is a good option if you still want to hear the end of the song, since “Alexa, stop” can be a bit abrupt.

Looping music playlists on the Echo

One of my Echo Dots on the floor, plus a screenshot of the Amazon Music's playlists section next to it.
Amazon Music’s playlists on an Echo Dot.

Looping a playlist is as simple as saying “Alexa, play [name of playlist] on loop”. This started working late in 2020 – before that, you had to ask to play the playlist (“Alexa, play [name of playlist] playlist“) before saying “Alexa, loop mode on” to start looping the playlist.

However if you’ve never created a playlist before, don’t worry as it’s fairly straightforward. Firstly launch the Amazon Music app (or download it if you don’t have it), and then click on ‘My Music’ and ‘Playlists’:

Screenshot of my Amazon Music app - showing the playlists section without my new 'Rock' playlist.
The playlists section of my Amazon Music app.

From here, some pre-made playlists are listed so that you can say “Alexa, play recently added to cloud songs” to easily play some music. But if you want to create custom playlists, you can click the blue “+ Create new playlist” button and enter a playlist name:

Screenshot from my Amazon Music app - choosing the name of a new playlist
Choosing the name of a new playlist

Click next and on the next screen, you can search to find various songs to add to this playlist, and then click the “+” icon to add them to this playlist:

Screenshot from my Amazon Music app - adding individual songs to my new 'Rock' playlist
Adding individual (non-rock!!) songs to my new ‘Rock’ playlist

Once you’re done, simply click the “back button” in the top left corner and it’ll save this playlist – showing the finished playlist after a few seconds:

Screenshot from my Amazon Music app - the newly created 'Rock' playlist appears in the playlists section
The newly created ‘Rock’ playlist appears in the playlists section.

Once this is all done, the steps to trigger the playlist on repeat are to say:

  • Alexa, play on loop” (for example, “Alexa, play rock playlist on loop”) – this starts playing the playlist that you just created, and should also say it’s looping.

This started working in late 2020. Before that point, Alexa wasn’t able to loop from one command – so you had to say “Alexa, play ” and then say “Alexa, loop mode on“.

Loop songs within routines (sort of)

Part of what I like about the Amazon smart home platform (via Alexa) is the ease in which you can create routines. Want to change your lightbulb color and play a song when someone presses your smart doorbell? Simple! (This isn’t simple with Google Home, by the way).

Yep, you can easily play songs – and playlists – from an Alexa automation routine. To get started, firstly access the routines menu by clicking on Menu/Settings and going to ‘Routines’:

Screenshot of my Alexa app showing how to access routines via the menu
How to access Alexa routines via the menu.

Click on “+” to create a new routine, and hear you can setup your routine. For example with the below:

Screenshot from my Alexa app showing routine playing a playlist
Playing a playlist via a routine – unfortunately you can’t loop via this.

This routine has a few things that’s worth explaining:

  • Name: this is the name of the routine. It’s purely used for your own identification, it doesn’t ‘do’ anything other than that.
  • When: this is the trigger of the routine. In this case, the routine will kick in when someone says “Alexa, relax“. The trigger point could also be the a of day, or when something happens to another smart home device (such as a doorbell press).
  • Actions: one or more things that happen when the routine is triggered. In this case, my bedroom light is dimmed (not shown explicitly in the above), and then my playlist called “relaxation” is kicked off.

You could also say ‘Play “Baby Shark by Pinkfong” on My Library’ to play an individual song (not a playlist) as part of the routine.

Click save or the back button, and your routine will be setup accordingly. Then to kick off the routine (and hence start playing music) simply go to an Echo device and say “Alexa, relax“.

If you want to loop that playlist instead, you can now also do this by just saying “on loop” at the end of the command:

My Alexa app showing a routine with a looped playlist
My Alexa app showing a routine with a looped playlist

This support was added to the Amazon Alexa platform in late 2020, which is a feature I’ve made good use of since being added.

7 thoughts on “Amazon Alexa & Echo: Looping Songs, Playlists and Routines”

  1. Hey Tristan, i played around and now have 7 routines for days of the week and different get up styles. I originally played from a single playlist and you’ll know the repetitive nature of that so it didn’t work hence i created 7 individual routines and set action to be the daily song from my meditation playlist say. Problem is some songs are shorter than the 20m i wanted them to play for, so to het around that… One has to enter “Alexa loop” at the end of the action instruction statement. Cool hey? Works a dream… I’m not that techie but just like tinkering…

    Reply
    • Hey, thanks for this information. Yes not being able to loop songs within a playlist or routine was annoying, it’s good that this works now. It looks like Amazon added support for this in late 2020, because it didn’t seem to work previously – but I’m very glad it works now. I’ve updated this guide accordingly.

      Reply
  2. Hi Tristan… thanks for the great article. Any idea why Alexa would be dropping my loops recently? She’ll be looping something just fine when suddenly the loop stops. I used to be able to loop sleep sounds all night, but now it’s hit and (usually) miss!

    Reply
    • Hi Teri, thanks! Yes I’d recently experienced similar with Alexa loops – they don’t play all night for me. I noticed that the routine page now has a specific option for playing music for up to 4 hours, so I’m thinking that Alexa has started to limit this – which is annoying. I plan on investigating this in detail soon and will update this article then.

      Reply
  3. My looping feature has quit working as of March 29, 2021 also? Does anyone know a fix? Thanks in advance and I think there are a lot of others who will appreciate a fix.

    Reply
    • Mine quit working around the same time too, very frustrating! I use it for my baby as white noise when he sleeps. He has now started waking up when it turns off (UGH). I just tried setting up the routine to play multiple 4 hour music timers to see if I can trick it into playing all night, I’ll update here it it works!

      Reply
      • Linda, were you able to get even 1 4hr music timer to work. If so, please give details. I cannot get the music timer to work with voice commands any more either. Thanks

        Reply

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