Does Alexa Charge A Monthly Fee?
Amazon Alexa doesn’t charge an additional monthly fee or subscription to use its basic functions and you don’t need Prime. Once you own an Alexa device, you can use it to answer questions, control smart home devices, play music, and more, all at no additional cost. But there are lots of subscriptions available to use more premium services like Apple Music or Spotify Premium.
Pricing can change based on the services you want to use in conjunction with Alexa. While the assistant doesn’t charge a monthly fee for its basic services, certain features that Alexa can access, like streaming music from Amazon Music Unlimited, Audible audiobooks, or premium skills/content from third-party providers, may require a subscription or additional purchase.
For example, if you want to use Alexa to play music and don’t have a subscription to a service like Amazon Music Unlimited, Spotify Premium, or Apple Music, you would need to subscribe to one of these services to enable full music functionality. Similarly, if you’re using Alexa to control smart home devices, the costs of those devices and any associated service plans are separate.
While Alexa doesn’t charge a monthly fee for basic services, additional costs can be associated with premium third-party services that you choose to use through your Alexa device.
I pay around $20 a month for subscriptions that I use with my Alexa devices, but none of them are mandatory for me to use Alexa. Alexa doesn’t charge a monthly fee to use it, but there are plenty of subscriptions available if you want them.
What’s Free To Use On Alexa?
Alexa offers a variety of services that are free to use once you have an Alexa-enabled device. These services don’t require additional subscriptions or fees and are accessible to all users.
- Voice Interactions: Ask questions, get weather updates, set alarms, create shopping lists, set reminders, and more through simple voice commands.
- Streaming Music: Listen to free music stations from services like Amazon Music (limited, ad-supported selection), Pandora, Spotify (free version), and iHeartRadio. You can also listen to your own purchased music from Amazon.
- News and Information: Get news updates from various sources and information on topics like weather, traffic, sports scores, and more.
- Skills: Access thousands of free skills (similar to apps) that allow Alexa to interact with other devices or services, provide additional functionalities, games, and content.
- Smart Home Control: Manage compatible smart home devices using voice commands. For example, you can control lights, switches, thermostats, and more.
- Calls and Messaging: Use Alexa to make hands-free calls or send messages to friends and family who also have Alexa-enabled devices or the Alexa app.
- Flash Briefing: Customize and listen to a daily news rundown from your preferred news sources.
- Books: Listen to your purchased audiobooks from Audible or eBooks from Kindle with Alexa. You can also access a selection of free audiobooks from Audible’s limited selection.
- Radio: Tune into live radio stations, podcasts, or internet broadcasts.
- Fitness and Health: Access a range of health and wellness skills that offer guided workouts, meditation sessions, sleep sounds, and more.
- Education and Learning: Use educational skills that can help with learning new languages, trivia, quizzes, and other educational content.
- Entertainment and Games: Engage with a variety of interactive games, storytelling skills, and other entertainment-based content.
Additional Alexa Charges
Alexa doesn’t come with additional monthly fees for using it, but there are additional costs associated with using Alexa. Some are optional and some are not.
- Cost of Alexa-Enabled Devices: To use Alexa, you need an Alexa-enabled device, such as the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, or Echo Show. The prices for these devices vary depending on the model.
- Optional Subscription Services: While Alexa offers several free features, some functionalities are enhanced or made available through paid subscriptions, such as:
- Amazon Music Unlimited: A premium music subscription service that offers users unlimited access to millions of songs.
- Audible: This service offers a vast library of audiobooks. It requires a monthly subscription, but you can purchase and keep books without a subscription as well.
- Amazon Prime: Members have access to a range of benefits that can be used with Alexa, including Prime Music, a free streaming service that comes with the membership.
- In-Skill Purchases or Premium Skills: Some Alexa skills, much like apps on a smartphone, might require a one-time purchase or subscription fee to unlock premium content or features within the skill.
- Smart Home Devices: If you want to use Alexa to control smart home devices (like lights, thermostats, cameras), there’s the cost of these devices themselves. Some may also require additional subscription services for full functionality.
- Voice Shopping: If you use Alexa for voice shopping, you’ll be spending money on the products you order through Amazon.
- Internet Charges: Alexa requires an internet connection to function.
The core functionality of Alexa, asking questions, setting alarms, getting news briefings, etc., doesn’t require a subscription. The costs associated with Alexa are primarily for the device itself, optional premium services, and any associated internet data usage.
Hidden Fees With Using Alexa
Amazon’s Alexa, the voice-controlled assistant found in Amazon Echo and other Alexa-enabled devices, doesn’t have hidden fees to use its basic functionalities. Once you purchase an Alexa-enabled device, you can use its standard features without any additional monthly charges.
However, while Alexa itself doesn’t have hidden fees, there are potential costs associated with enhanced functionalities and third-party services:
- Subscription Services: Alexa can integrate with various subscription-based services like Amazon Music Unlimited, Spotify Premium, and Audible. If you wish to access premium content from these platforms, you’ll need to pay their respective subscription fees.
- Skills: Alexa has a vast library of “skills” (akin to apps) that enhance its capabilities. While many are free, some skills, especially those offering premium content or services, might come with a one-time purchase cost or subscription fee.
- Voice Shopping: If you use Alexa for voice shopping on Amazon, you’ll be charged for the products you order. It’s essential to be aware of the prices and any associated shipping or service fees.
- Smart Home Devices: If you integrate Alexa with smart home devices, there’s the initial cost of the devices themselves. Some might also have associated service plans or subscription fees.
- Data Usage: Using Alexa requires an internet connection. Depending on your internet plan, increased usage might lead to additional charges.
- In-Skill Purchases: Some skills allow in-skill purchases, where users can buy digital goods directly within the skill.
Integrating third-party services or making purchases through Alexa usually has an additional cost. Always read the terms and conditions of any service or skill you’re considering.
While Alexa’s basic features don’t have hidden fees, costs can arise depending on how you use the device and expand its capabilities.
Is Music Free On Alexa?
Listening to music on Alexa doesn’t inherently require a subscription, but access to various music libraries and enhanced features depends on whether you’re using free services or paid subscriptions. Alexa offers both.
The paid music services are better than the free ones and offer a lot more music. But you can listen to radio stations and play music through Amazon for free if you want. I listen to free music just about every day and it sounds great, but there are some commercials between songs.
Here’s how it breaks down:
- Amazon Prime Music: If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you automatically have access to Amazon Prime Music, which you can stream without any additional cost. However, its library is somewhat limited compared to other music services.
- Streaming Radio or Stations: Services like iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and others offer free streaming radio stations, which you can access on Alexa devices without a subscription.
- Music Purchases: If you’ve purchased music directly from Amazon, you can stream this on your Alexa device without a subscription.
- Spotify Free: If you have a free Spotify account, you can link it to your Alexa device and listen to music with ads. However, there are limitations compared to Spotify Premium, such as being unable to play specific songs on demand.
- Amazon Music Unlimited: This subscription service offers an extensive library of songs, playlists, and ad-free stations. It’s more comprehensive than Amazon Prime Music and requires a monthly fee.
- Spotify Premium: With a Spotify Premium account, you can play any song on demand, listen ad-free, and access better quality audio, among other features.
- Apple Music: Subscribers can stream the entire Apple Music library and listen to radio stations, including Beats 1.
- Other Subscriptions: Services like Pandora, Tidal, and Deezer also require paid subscriptions for full access to all features on Alexa devices.
While there are free options available, they come with limitations, such as ads, a smaller music library, or restricted functionalities (like skipping tracks).
Paid subscriptions offer more comprehensive access and capabilities, such as ad-free listening, unlimited skips, and the ability to listen to any song on demand.
Is Alexa Free With Amazon Prime?
The Alexa service itself isn’t something that you purchase as a standalone subscription, and it doesn’t come as a part of Amazon Prime either. Instead, Alexa is a feature that’s included in Amazon Echo and other Alexa-enabled devices at no additional cost, regardless of whether you have an Amazon Prime membership.
- Purchasing the Device: To use Alexa, you need to purchase an Alexa-enabled device, such as an Amazon Echo. You buy this device outright, and there’s no monthly fee associated with Alexa itself.
- Amazon Prime Benefits: If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you have access to several added features that you can use with your Alexa device at no additional cost, including:
- Amazon Prime Music: You can stream from a curated library of over 2 million songs, playlists, and radio stations. This is not as extensive as Amazon Music Unlimited but comes at no extra cost with a Prime membership.
- Prime Delivery: You can use Alexa to order items from Amazon using voice commands, and eligible products come with free two-day shipping under the Prime membership.
- Prime Reading: You can ask Alexa to read from a selection of eBooks available through Prime Reading.
- Non-Prime Content: Even without Amazon Prime, you can still use Alexa to listen to radio stations, get news updates, control smart home devices, set alarms, and more. However, you won’t have access to the content that comes specifically with a Prime membership.
While Alexa is not a service included with Amazon Prime, Prime members have access to a range of content and features that can be used with Alexa-enabled devices without any additional subscription fees.
The Alexa service itself is available to anyone with an Alexa-enabled device, regardless of Prime membership status.
If you have any questions about Alexa, email or leave a comment below.
John Mazzuca | About | More Posts |
Custom Home Builder
John Mazzuca is a custom home designer and builder at Gambrick with over 25 years experience in the construction industry. John has designed, built and/or remodeled hundreds of homes, small buildings, and commercial projects. He writes about business, real estate, home building, and household electronics. His work has been featured in Fox Business, Better Homes & Garden, House Beautiful, and more.