Why Does Alexa Only Play Samples (or does it)?

Why Does Alexa Only Play Samples - or does it

Alexa is Amazon’s female personal assistant, found on the Amazon Echo, Dot and Tap (amongst others).

She is a very multi-talented personal assistant at that, who is always seems willing to help!

She’s very smart as she seems to know the answer to a lot of questions. What’s the weather going to be like, how heavy the traffic is, right down to where you can order a nice pizza.

Alexa’s also got a fantastic memory. She can remember birthdays, where we need to be and when, what we need to pick up from the grocery store…the list goes on. And the way things are going the long list of “can do’s” will continue to grow.

But what about songs, Alexa plays those, yes?

Alexa can store all your favorite songs and play them however you want, just by asking.

This is great most of the time, but there can be occasions when you only get to hear a sample of your favorite songs.

This isn’t cool, so….

Why Does Alexa Only Play Samples?

Depending on your music tastes, Alexa will try to play whatever song or songs you requested in full. This is what you would expect. However, sometimes a sample of a song is played, which of course can be frustrating.

But what causes this? Why is Alexa being a meanie and not playing the whole song?

It all comes down to what you have stored in your Amazon ‘My Music’ account that you use with Echo or Dot and whether or not the song is part of Amazon Prime (mostly).

If the song is on neither, then a sample of the track will be played. If you are sure you have purchased the song and it is in your Amazon Music Library, then double-check. Sometimes there can be synching issues, so have a look into it to make sure.

What Is This ‘Amazon Music Library’, Anyway?

Amazon lets anyone create a library and then store up to 250 songs within it. These can be songs from music you purchased separately from Amazon. Think iTunes, Google Play and even your old CDs!

Amazon Alexa

If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can get access to all the free content within the Amazon Prime Music Library as well (as of Mar ’17 over 2 million songs).

You can also buy songs from Amazon too and add to the library.

250 Songs Doesn’t Sound Like Much Library Space Does It?

For most people it won’t be. However, note that the Amazon Prime Music Library and songs purchased off Amazon do not count to this limit.

You will likely still have more than 250 songs that you might like to add. If you do, you can get around this limitation by buying an Amazon Music subscription plan. This will let you store up to 250,000 tracks (that should be enough!). The best way to upload music to your Amazon account is to install “Amazon Music” on your PC or Mac.

Any Other Options?

Yes, you can link the likes of iHeartRadio, Pandora and Spotify (Premium only) to your Amazon Echo (or Dot). You may need to specify the service type that you want to use to play your song. For example, “Alexa, play ‘Rihanna’ on Pandora”.

Hopefully now you will no longer hear a snippet of the songs you love,a nd you can enjoy all your songs, IN FULL, from now on.

If this helped, please share or leave a comment below. Thanks!

32 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. Very helpful. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. · Edit

      Glad it was useful!

      Reply
  2. So if I pay for prime and music why am I still only hearing some samples?

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    1. · Edit

      Hi there,

      Are you sure that the song you’re trying to listen to is covered by Prime or that you have purchased the song via Amazon Music Unlimited?

      Reply
      1. · Edit

        If you are, then please also note that there can be syncing issues, so please check this. Otherwise, we recommend contacting Amazon Customer Support to resolve your issue.

        Reply
        1. Why is Alexa only playing sample songs as before it used to play the whole song please help

          Reply
  3. Thank you. This is helpful, but…Alexa will play the full song in the kitchen (Echo Tower) and only a samples in the study and bedroom (Dots), and I can’t figure out why. Same account, same wifi. Is there a limit to the songs the Dots can play, regardless of the type of account they are connected to – Prime, Amazon Music Unlimited?

    Reply
    1. Same here, Amazon Echo plays full songs, and Echo Dot plays samples only – same album, exactly the same request phrase.

      Reply
    2. I have the same problem and don’t feel I should have to subscribe to get full songs.

      Reply
  4. Thank you. This is helpful, but…she will play the full song in the kitchen (Echo Tower) and only a samples in the study and bedroom (Dots), and I can’t figure out why. Same account, same wifi. Is there a limit to the songs the Dots can play, regardless of the account – Prime, Amazon Music Unlimited?

    Reply
    1. · Edit

      Hi DT

      Hmmm, not sure why that’s happening.

      Have you tried contacting Amazon support?

      Reply
    2. I have the same problem. Echo works with the music, but the dots only play samples, using the same account.

      Reply
  5. alexa is only playing samples of the same songs she was playing in full before

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    1. I have the same problem, she either “can’t find songs by ___” or she will play a sample

      Reply
  6. why is alexa only playing samples of songs she was playing in full before

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  7. I still cant figure out how to play a full song ! Its dumb

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  8. why is alexa only playing samples of songs that she was playing before?

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    1. Same here. I have a Spotify premium account and even when requesting Alex’s plays from Spotify I only get a sample. I am beginning to regret getting Alex’s. Bit frustrating and v. Annoying

      Reply
  9. I’m getting samples also …what to do???

    Reply
  10. I have the same problem. Was playing full tracks, now only playing samples. Frustrating!

    Reply
  11. Hi Guys,
    Looks like a few people ran into the same issue as me. My Alexa Echo would play a full song but the other Alexa dot’s I have in my house would only play sample songs. This has to do with your subscription.

    Amazon Music Unlimited has 3 plans
    1. Echo (Echo, Dot, Tap) 3.99/Month. This only works for one device. Unlimited for Echo allows you to stream music on a single Echo device (including Dot and Tap).
    2. Individual plan 7.99/Month – This is what I had to upgrade to so that it works on all devices.
    3. Family Plan14.99/month – Is basically the same thing but you can customize it to individual family members.

    Reply
    1. Thanks for the help, but I have prime music, shouldn’t that work?

      Reply
      1. I also have prime music and I’m having the same problems regarding only samples being played. Would be good to know more details, Didn’t expect to have to take out an additional subscription..

        Reply
  12. I also have prime music and I’m having the same problems regarding only samples being played. Would be good to know more details, Didn’t expect to have to take out an additional subscription..

    Reply
  13. Amazon are very obscure and treat people badly

    Reply
  14. Sometimes when we play song through Alexa app Amazon Echo Playing Sample Song Only and this problem is very frustrating.

    Reply
  15. If I am paying for the single echo device how can I switch it to one of my other devices? Currently plays full song only on my spot and samples on the others

    Reply
  16. same problem – no reason ?

    Reply
  17. This is very strange: I have my Alexa Dot for 2 months. During my first week, Alexa played Kenny Rankin songs. However, since then, Alexa says, “I can’t find any Kenny Rankin songs”. I live in Canada. My friend, who lives in the US, is able to play Kenny Rankin on his Alexa all day.

    I complained to Alexa. They sent me a lengthy answer stating it had to do with licensing agreements. They failed to explain why I was able to play Rankin during my first week. He’s been dead for a decade and still negotiates license agreements with Canada? Sheesh!

    Reply
  18. Sometimes a sample of a song is played, which of course can be frustrating. This is because sometimes we have forgotten to set default music player and music is not in the library.

    Reply
  19. Hi, we have two Echo Dots we set up at the same time. they both worked fine for a while, but now my sons only plays samples when the same song will play in full on my daughters. I can’t figure out why and i’ve tried reconnecting with my phone and no change.
    Thanks.

    Reply

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