How to play music on all (or some) of your Amazon Alexa speakers at once

You can set up multi-room audio in a snap with help from Alexa.

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Want to hear your Amazon Music, Pandora, or Spotify tunes booming throughout your house? If you have Amazon Echo devices in multiple rooms, just ask Alexa, although you’ll need to tweak some settings first.

Indeed, once you’ve followed a few basic steps, you can ask Alexa to play music or podcasts on some or all of your Alexa-enabled speakers. You can also designate a “preferred” speaker or speaker group depending on the room(s) you most often use for music listening. More on that later.

The trick is to create one or more speaker groups. Using the Alexa mobile app, you can pick and choose which Alexa speakers (including both Echo devices and Alexa-enabled speakers from third parties, such as the Sonos One or the Polk Command Bar) you want in a given speaker group.

For example, you could create a group called “Everywhere” that includes every Alexa-enabled speaker in your home. You could also create “Upstairs” and “Downstairs” speaker groups, as well as “Bedroom suite” and “Kitchen/Dining room” groups. Feel free to get creative, and keep in mind that a single speaker can belong to multiple speaker groups.

How to create an Alexa speaker group

Fire up the Alexa mobile app, tap the menu button in the top corner of the screen, tap Settings > Device Settings, tap the “plus” button, and then tap Add Multi-Room Music Speakers > Continue.

Next, pick a name for your new speaker group, ideally something that’s easy to say and for Alexa to hear. A good speaker group to start with might be “Everywhere,” for every Alexa-enabled speaker in your home. Tap Next once you’ve picked a name.

amazon alexa speaker group settings Ben Patterson/IDG

Once you’ve chosen a name for your new Alexa speaker group, you can select which Alexa-enabled speakers you’d like to be associated with the group.

Now it’s time to pick the speakers you’d like added to your new speaker group. On the next screen, you’ll see a list of compatible Alexa speakers. (Note: The list won’t include Bluetooth speakers paired with your Echo devices.) Since we’re creating an “Everywhere” speaker group, go ahead and tap every speaker in the list. You can always create another group (such as “Upstairs” or “Kitchen”) later and, if you wish, you can include one or more speakers that are already assigned to your Everywhere group.

Once you’ve selected speakers for your new speaker group, tap Done. Alexa will take a minute or so to create the new multi-room speaker group and alert you when it’s ready.

Ready to take your new Alexa-powered multi-room music setup for a test drive? Just say, “Alexa, play Bruce Springsteen on Spotify everywhere,” and if all goes well, you’ll hear The Boss crooning on all your Alexa speakers at once.

Bonus tip: If you’re using the Spotify mobile or desktop app, your new Alexa speaker group should also show up as a Spotify Connect option in the “Connect to a device” menu.

How to pick a preferred Alexa speaker or speaker group

If you like, you can set a given Echo device to automatically play music on an Alexa speaker group without having to tell Alexa which group to use. For example, if you have an Echo in the kitchen, you could set it up so that whenever you ask Alexa to play tunes, it would play them on your “Kitchen/dining room” speaker group by default.

amazon alexa speaker group preferred speaker Ben Patterson/IDG

You can select a preferred speaker or speaker group for any give Echo device.

Open the Alexa mobile app, tap the Devices tab at the bottom of the screen, and then pick a device group from the Groups section. Don’t have any groups yet? Tap the Plus button in the top-right corner of the screen to create one.

Tap a group, tap Setup under the Preferred Speaker heading, pick a speaker or speaker group from the list, and then tap Save.

Now, when you ask the Echo device in that group to play music, it’ll automatically play your tunes on the preferred speaker or speaker group that you specified.

To temporarily override the preferred speaker setting for an Echo device, just tell Alexa where you’d like your music to play (“Alexa, play Ciara on Ben’s Echo Dot”).

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