Amazon Just BROKE Amazon Music For Echo Owners

On 1st November 2022, Amazon announced an “upgrade” to Prime Music. Instead of giving you 2 million songs, instead they would give us 100 million songs. AWESOME, right? Well, not really. They nerfed a big feature: the ability to pick and choose songs or albums. Instead, everything on Prime Music is like Spotify Free: shuffle modes and random playlists.

This YouTube video explores the change, and looks at whether there are any alternatives. If you have purchased loads of MP3s on Amazon, you can check out this useful Reddit thread for some tips.

The individual video timestamps are:

  • 0:00 Intro
  • 0:45 Example
  • 1:30 Will Amazon Fix This?
  • 1:55 Alternatives
  • 2:27 Conclusion

Video Transcript

Hello, I’m Tristan. Amazon just announced a major “upgrade” to Amazon Music: instead of having access to 2 million songs as part of Prime Music, you now get OVER 100 MILLION songs. Wow. But there’s a catch. It all boils down to three magical words: “in shuffle mode”.

Previously, without an Amazon Music Unlimited subscription, you could ask your Echo to play a certain song or artist. If that was part of the 2 million songs included with Prime Music, it would play it. Now, however, it… just won’t do that. “Shuffle mode” means that Prime Music is now Spotify Free: when you ask for a song, it will play a “similar playlist” instead. And if you’re REALLY lucky, that playlist MIGHT include the song you actually asked for.

Yesterday my wife asked our Echo Show to play Billy Ocean songs. Previously this would have played a handful of songs without issue. But now, it plays random artists – as part of the shuffle mode.

[Me] Alexa, play songs by Billy Ocean

[Echo] Shuffling Billy Ocean and similar artists, on Amazon Music other artists

They actually Rick rolled me! This “upgrade” has also broken loads of my own Alexa routines. For example, we have a bedtime routine that plays a specific song – one that I purchased the MP3 for, in-fact. But Amazon now refuses to play that song, instead playing some ‘deep sleep’ playlists “in shuffle mode”. Gee, thanks Amazon.

Now, it’s possible that some of these ARE actually bugs that Amazon will iron out, but I doubt things will improve much. Amazon clearly wants to push you to pay for a Music Unlimited subscription. If that wasn’t the case, they wouldn’t have spent months developing this new feature – all centering around “shuffle mode”. Taking away a bunch of features is an intentional strategy from Amazon, in my opinion.

So what alternatives do you have, without paying for a music subscription? Well, not many. Google broke their free music features a couple of years ago, as part of their YouTube Premium roll-out. You CAN try buying individual MP3s to play on your Echo, and a helpful Reddit thread shows how you can SORT OF play those songs… but this feature is quite hit and miss. I’ve also tried creating loads of little playlists with 1 or 2 songs, but Amazon then just fills them up with irrelevant songs when you try playing that playlist.

To wrap up, Amazon seems to have intentionally taken away some really basic features from Prime Music – which sucks. I refuse to pay for a music subscription, so I’m quite frustrated by this “upgrade”. I will keep an eye on workarounds and any bug fixes, and put a pinned comment with anything I find.

Until then, I hope you enjoyed this video – please click the like button if you did. Please also leave a comment with your thoughts on this “upgrade” by Amazon, and feel free to subscribe to my channel. Thank you!

About Tristan Perry

Tristan Perry is a software developer who is passionate about tech gadgets, DIY and housing. He has therefore loved seeing smart homes hit the mainstream. Tristan also has an academic background (in Math & Computer Science), and so he enjoys digging into the technical ways that smart home devices work.

Tristan owns close to a dozen Amazon Echo devices, way too many Philips Hue bulbs and lightstrips, a boat-load of Ring Cameras and Doorbells... and a bunch of other smart home devices too (from Reolink, Google Nest, GLEDOPTO and others).

26 thoughts on “Amazon Just BROKE Amazon Music For Echo Owners”

    • Me too, it sucks! In terms of what we can do – right now, not a lot (unfortunately) – even playing your own purchased MP3s (via the Amazon Store) is hit and miss. I’m hoping that Amazon improve things a little, so we can at least get decent music playback features. I’ll then do a follow-up blog and video.

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  1. I agree the completely nerfed the included with prime option for everyone. Some clever marketing product owner convinced senior management this strategy will get everyone paying for the full subscription.

    It’s had the opposite effect for me. I’m cancelling my Amazon prime as I’ll use their free delivery day option from now on.

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    • Yes same here. They seemed to think that telling everyone about this “upgrade” would make people happy, even though it’s clearly a big backwards step. We’re also very unlikely to renew our Prime membership which runs out soon.

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    • I am starting to agree. There was a time when they had lots of bargains, and super-fast delivery. Now we’re getting more and more delayed deliveries, and their prices aren’t that good either.

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  2. Amazon, Twitter, alphabet, etc – they have all jumped the shark. Some of my car’s “features” I will also lump into the fail category for using technology to actually make things harder.

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    • I agree entirely. It’s interesting (albeit naturally sad) to see their job cuts too. It feels like they are on a decline, and just clawing at temporary measures to boost their share price in the short term. In the long run though… their decisions don’t look so intelligent.

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  3. Originally – before this ‘upgrade’ – I was thinking about upgrading to Amazon Music Unlimited. Now I just feel like they are forcing me to do it, I don’t want to! What other smart speakers are there that are good? I may change from Amazon totally now

    Reply
    • It’s frustrating for sure. And as you say, many people (including me) will just resent paying for Amazon Music Unlimited now. In terms of alternative products, neither Google Home or Apple Homepod offer ‘free’ music. So it just depends what music subscriptions you have – or would be happy to pay for. If you like Apple and would consider paying for Apple Music, the Homepod speaker would be great. Alternatively, Spotify Premium will work fine on all smart speakers (Amazon Echo, Google Home or Apple HomePod).

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  4. Is there a contact for Amazon Music? I am sure there’s lots of people with a similar complaint. This is the very reason I stopped using Spotify, Pandora etc. I will cancel Amazon Prime and now rely on playlists I build through Apple Music and play through Bluetooth.

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    • Some people have been submitting feedback through the Amazon Music help pages (where it asks at the bottom: are you happy with this information?). Other people have tried doing online chats, but often the chat agent just closes the chat – or says it’s a temporary bug (even though it’s clearly not).

      So you could try one of those options, but people have not had much luck yet – unfortunately.

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  5. I’m looking into how to cancel Amazon Prime, looking through the features I like and there’s not much left or worth the price. Amazon Prime is meh, Amazon Photos is worthless (without buying more memory for videos, prices are the same on amazon in many other places), and now Amazon Music is total rubbish that you can do the same for free with iHeart Radio. What’s left? I can buy items under $5 for “free” delivery? Prime is not worth it anymore. I don’t think we need to pray for a huge movement of people to cancel. This won’t seem worth it anymore to any normal person.

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    • I feel you. It’s a really annoying change. Amazon have been watering down the benefit of Prime for a while now, and them intentionally breaking Prime Music – and saying that it’s an “upgrade” – is really annoying.

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  6. I was new to Amazon Music. I tried to live with it for the weekend. It Sunday and I am going back to Spotify. They are on a roll, They killed Tolkien now Music..

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  7. As an occasional music listener Amazon Prime Music is now a dreadful option. To try the new feature out I decided to listen to Tinashe (not exposed to much of her music). Cue Amazon, shuffle to your hearts content and give me some Tinashe.

    Sixteen tracks in and yet to get a Tinashe track! Amazon Music is firing different artists singing tracks with the same NAMES as those on Tinashe albums but no actual Tinashe. Way to go Amazon.

    From the artists’ perspective what is the point? I want exposing to Tinashe (not Ne-Yo, SZA and God knows who else).

    Amazon are simply forcing people AWAY from their product and if this isn’t fixed by December I’ll end my annual Prime subscription and invest the £95 in Tidal or similar.

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  8. Does anyone want to buy 4x4th gen Amazon dots? Absolutely useless to me now, except maybe the one with the clock, as a clock. I hate that we’ve lost the feature to play the music we want to hear, it’s not even like I overuse it. I was already annoyed that I pay for Prime and many movies or TV shows I want to watch incur an extra charge, I won’t pay more. Now that they’ve taken my music I just don’t think it’s worth it any more.

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    • I’ll buy them off you, if you throw in a few year’s Spotify Premium subscription – lol! But joking aside, you’re quite right – it’s a really annoying set of changes. We also played a ton of music, so them breaking this functionality is very annoying for us.

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    • What? That sucks. Thanks for the update. I plan on digging around all this in a few weeks (when the dust settles, and many when/if Amazon make some tweaks), so I’ll check this out at the same time. That’s another annoying ‘upgrade’ by Amazon..!

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  9. I hate Amazon now. This was obviously their strategy when selling these crap speakers at cost for years: advertising! We got duped. I hate Amazon now and will be working to rid our household of the many thousands we spend on Amazon annually now. I’m appreciating more and more Apple’s decision years ago to not go into advertising for revenue ever. I love that and I hate Amazon.

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    • It’s annoying for sure, and I’m in a similar position to you – having spent loads on Amazon (and Ring) products. The fact that Amazon sold this as an “upgrade” is even more annoying.

      Reply

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