Whether you’re planning an awesome all-nighter of a party or simply curious about your device, it’s normal to wonder how long Alexa will play music before turning itself off. There’s a lot more going into this than you might expect!
Alexa will only stream content for as long as your default music player allows. Before you decide to set up Apple Music or Spotify on your Echo device, remember that most free services will severely restrict your available music playback hours to a few hours at best – but paid services won’t have this issue.
By default, Alexa will only play each song in a given set once. You can instruct Alexa to loop the playlist for as long as you’d like to avoid that issue or enable the “Autoplay” feature, letting Alexa play similar songs after the original set is done playing.
Note that inactivity timers and sleep timers take priority over the above, potentially cutting your music playback time short unless you make some settings changes on your device.
How long Alexa can play music before shutting off depends on many influencing factors. We’ll be going over the most immediate contributors first before working our way down. Hopefully by the end of the article, you’ll be able to get Alexa to play music for as long as you like.
Account Type (Free vs Premium)
When figuring out how long you can play music on Alexa before it shuts off, the type of account you own is the most significant factor – free and paid accounts are handled very differently.
Free music players tend to have heavier restrictions than their paid counterparts. This means a smaller selection of songs, intermittent ads, and most importantly, less total streaming time.
Amazon Music only allows four hours of music playback on Alexa per week, while Spotify Free limits users to one hour per day. This experience also comes with ads playing between tracks and only gives you a limited number of skips for songs you don’t like.
Amazon Music Unlimited and Spotify Premium let you stream all the content you want on your Alexa device – even allowing for specific songs on your playlists!
Alexa will always play each song in a set only once, so the total duration of your playlist will also be your total music playback time – but you do have options to circumvent that limitation.
If you want your Alexa to play a song repeatedly, you can use this voice command:
“Alexa, play [song name] on repeat.”
If you want Alexa to loop a playlist or album for a certain number of hours, use this command:
for [x] hours.”
It’s also worth noting that you don’t have to limit your Alexa to one playlist. Alexa devices have an autoplay feature that allows them to seek out and play similar songs once the original playlist queue wraps up. Here’s how you can find and activate that setting:
- Open your Alexa app, tap “More”, then click on “Settings”.
- Below “Alexa Preferences”, you’ll find “Music & Podcasts”.
- You’ll find “Autoplay” right above “Family Services”.
- Toggle the feature on.
Alexa should loop your playlist indefinitely if you don’t specify a playback duration. It often won’t though, as the next two factors tend to get in the way of that!
Alexa devices come with something called an inactivity timer. After a period of no interaction, Alexa will turn off music and other audio to preserve power. The length of the inactivity timer can vary greatly, but by default, it’s set to trigger after two hours of no engagement.
Here’s how to change your inactivity timer (provided your device and region support it!)
- Open your Alexa app.
- Select “Devices”.
- Scroll down to “Settings”.
- Pick “Timers and Alerts”.
- Navigate to “Inactivity Timer”.
- Make your preferred changes.
Alexa’s inactivity timer won’t be available on every device in their product line. Even if you own a device that supports this, the inactivity timer may not be available in your region. Thankfully, the “Alexa, leave on.” voice command allows for indefinite music playback, even for devices that don’t support inactivity timer changes via the Alexa app.
Alexa’s sleep timer is a feature that allows users to set their devices up to turn off after a certain amount of time has passed. This is useful for listening to music, audiobooks, or podcasts before bed, as you can be sure that your device will stop playing once you fall asleep.
You can set an Alexa sleep timer with these voice commands:
“Alexa, set a sleep timer for [x specific time].” or “Alexa, set a sleep timer in [x period of time]”
The first option sets the sleep timer at a specific time of the day, while the second option has the sleep timer take effect once a certain duration has passed.
- “Alexa, set a sleep timer at 10 pm.” – Alexa will stop its functions at 10 pm.
- “Alexa, set a sleep timer in 30 minutes.” – Alexa will stop its functions in 30 minutes, regardless of the current time the request was made.
Alexa’s sleep timers are not enabled by default. and these sleep timers are unique to each Alexa unit unless you explicitly specify otherwise (“Alexa, set a sleep timer for [x] on all devices.”).
For this reason, some users prefer scheduling sleep timers on their default music players instead. Here’s how you can set them up on Spotify and Amazon Music!
- Open your Spotify app.
- Choose any song in that playlist or set.
- Tap on the 3-dot icon on the top right.
- Scroll down to the “Sleep Timer” menu.
- Select your preferred duration.
- Open your Amazon Music app.
- From the “Browse” menu, tap on the 3-dot icon on the top right.
- Under “Amazon Music Options”, click “Settings”.
- Select “Sleep timer”, then toggle it on.
- Set the sleep timer to your ideal time.
It’s much simpler to set sleep timers on your default music players, but remember that the max streaming duration on these apps is quite short – allowing only an hour of playback at most.
If you want Alexa to play music for as long as possible, you’ll need to set sleep timers on your Echo device. Unfortunately, not all Alexa units let you change the sleep timer length in the app, forcing you to use the shorter sleep timers available on these music players.
“How long will Alexa play music before shutting off?”
Assuming you don’t encounter any other problems with your music player or Wi-fi, you can expect Alexa to play music for at least a few hours without issue. If you want your Alexa device to play music all night long, you’ll need to deal with these unwanted interruptions first.
Thankfully, most of these issues relate to settings that only need to be changed once. You don’t have to worry about repeat incidents so long as you go over everything correctly the first time. If you want to do the same for unsupported apps (like Soundcloud!), you’ll have to get creative.