Bluetooth Playback Controls For iTunes On Echo, Google Music On Echo

It’s a very common question among Echo owners and those considering the purchase: how do I get Alexa to play the music I have in iTunes / Google Music? As of this writing (on 2/11/16) Alexa cannot link directly to either of those services, but she can pair to a device that does link directly to them via Bluetooth, and that will get you some playback functionality.

If you want all the same playback functionality as Alexa can give you with Amazon Music…you’re going to have to migrate your music library. See Getting Your Music Into Amazon Music Library So Echo Can Play It, which explains how to do exactly what the title says, step by step.

 

Update iTunes
A meme about why I left iTunes long ago.

 

Echo Bluetooth Pairing
First, you need a Bluetooth device that connects to your iTunes or Google Music library. Most current-model laptops, smart phones and tablets have Bluetooth capability, but you may need to turn it on in your device’s settings.

Turn Bluetooth on in the device and put it into pairing mode; this should be an option on your device’s Bluetooth menu. Place the device in range of the Echo (generally within 6-10 feet) and say:

[wake word], pair.

Alexa will detect your device and instruct you to go to it and select Echo from the Bluetooth pairing screen. Once your device is paired, open the app you normally use for iTunes / Google Music playback and start some music.

Click here to view Amazon’s Help topic on Bluetooth pairing with Alexa.

 

Best of Bowie

 

Available Bluetooth Playback Commands
These are the commands you can use with Alexa for Bluetooth playback control:

– play
– pause
– restart
– resume
– stop

For skipping among tracks in an album or playlist:

– previous
– next

 

Tom Petty Greatest Hits

 

Bluetooth Playback Gotcha: Don’t Make Alexa Drop Your Connection
The list above includes all the commands available during Bluetooth playback, other music-related commands are generally reserved for use with Amazon Music Library / Prime Music playback. When you issue one of the reserved commands during Bluetooth playback, Alexa will pause playback on your Bluetooth-connected device and disconnect from it, then attempt to find the music you requested from Amazon Music Library instead.

For example, if you’re playing a Tom Petty Greatest Hits playlist from iTunes on the Echo via Bluetooth, then decide you cannot wait one more second for Last Dance With Mary Jane to come up in the list, and say:

[wake word], play Last Dance With Mary Jane

…Alexa will pause playback of your iTunes Tom Petty Greatest Hits playlist, disconnect your Bluetooth device and attempt to find the requested track in Amazon Music Library—Prime Music first, if you’re a Prime member.

To resume Bluetooth playback, say “Alexa, connect” and press play on the Bluetooth-enabled device.

 

It’s not going to give you as much playback control as with Amazon Music Library, but the Echo does make an excellent Bluetooth speaker and thanks to Alexa, you’ve got the major controls available with voice commands.

 

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If you have (or have ordered) a Dot (UK visitors click here), with the iFox iF012 Bluetooth Shower Speaker (UK visitors click here), you can bring Alexa into the shower or bath with you! Currently (as of 9/17/16) rated 4.5/5 stars across over 1,100 reviews and priced at $29.99.

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