Play MP3's with Amazon Alexa and Microsoft OneDrive

We have already looked at all the standard ways to listen to your own MP3 files with your Amazon Echo, Dot or Tap.  But, did you know there is a way to put your MP3 files into your OneDrive storage and play them back from Alexa?  Keep on reading to find out how!

It takes a bit more setup, and relies on a third party skill, yet it is a viable solution for those of you who want to play your own MP3 files on Amazon Alexa, rather than use a music service.  Here is what you need:

  1. Microsoft OneDrive service.  This is Microsoft's competitor to Box and DropBox.  It lets you sync files from a folder on your computer to the cloud.  When you switch between computers, you have access to your files.  You also have access through a web interface.  There is a free tier available that provide 5 GB of storage, which would hold plenty of music.  If you have Office 365 you get a nice 1 TB of storage.   OneDrive comes with Windows 8.1 & 10, but if you are using Win 7, you will need to install the sync tool.  You will also find a version for Mac.
  2. Starfish Audio skill.  This is the piece that ties your OneDrive storage with Alexa.  It is a skill that must be enabled.   There is a charge of $1.99 USD per year.  Payment is via PayPal. 

Those are the only two services you need.  You, of course, need your MP3 files as well.  Let's take a closer look at each part of this.

OneDrive

I assume you already have a OneDrive account.  If not, go ahead and sign up.

You can start out by creating (if it is not already there) a top level folder named "Apps".  Under that add a folder for "StarFish".  Inside this folder copy a couple of your MP3 files.  Do not add any folders under this level, as the skill will not work.   You can wait to copy the files over until after you link your account, as the folders will be created automatically.

Starfish Audio

You can enable the skill with voice "Alexa, enable Starfish Audio".  However, you need to use account linking to link first to the Starfish Audio skill, and then you will need to use linking to let it connect to your OneDrive.   

Go to the Alexa Companion App and choose Skills > Your Skills (upper right corner).  Scroll down to Starfish Audio and click on it.  Then, click on the Enable button.  This will lead you through account linking.

At this point, if you did not yet copy your MP3 files over to OneDrive, this would be a good time to do it.  The folders should already be created, and you just have to copy a couple of MP3 files over.  You can copy more after you have made sure it works.

Finally, you need to visit the vendors website at  www.starfishmint.com/mp3  and pay the $1.99 annual fee via PayPal.  Click on the Subscribe button to start the payment.

Playing Music

With your OneDrive account setup, the Starfish Audio skill enabled and accounts linked it is time to try playing music.  Because Starfish Audio is a third party skill (not provided by Microsoft or Amazon), the commands to play music are a little different.

You can say:

  •  "Alexa, Open Starfish Audio"
  • "Alexa, open Starfish Audio and play Applause from Lady Gaga"
  • "Alexa, stop"

That should do it.  The music play commands seem a bit limited compared to the regular music voice control.  However, it is pretty nice to use the large amount of storage that OneDrive provides to store our music collection for Alexa.  If you have a large music collection, you will want to look into this.

UPDATE

As of 1/11/2017, Starfish Audio will now enable support for folders.  You can now add up to 100 songs per folder.  You can also create your own playlists on the Starfish Audio website.  

Summary

I love the fact that I can easily add MP3 files to my OneDrive folder and have them be available on Alexa.  I had some initial problems with the skill not working.  I contacted the company behind the skill through their web site form and they responded quickly via email.  They were helpful and very resonsive. At this time the ratings for the skill are not so great.  I believe that is a result of having problems with the account linking.  I'll agree it is not the easiest process, but it does work.  

This gives all us users one more option for how to get to our music.  Let me know if you find this helpful.

 

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