Amazon Prime Music Takes On Pandora With Addition Of “Prime Stations” On iOS

Prime Music, Amazon’s free music streaming service for Prime members, has been upgraded on mobile today with a new feature that will see the service better competing with similar offerings like Pandora or iTunes Radio, for example. The company has now introduced “Prime Stations” for users of its iOS application, which are are ad-free streaming music stations that offer unlimited song skips. Also new in the updated app are personalized recommendations, which will better highlight those songs, albums and playlists Amazon believes you might like, based on your prior playing history.

Explains the company, the more you use the service, the better these personalizations become. Plus, as on other services, users can train the algorithm by tapping a thumbs up or thumbs down to indicate their interest in a given track and artist. Prime Stations will then learn from this feedback to make a playlist that’s better catered to your own interests.

Prime Music Stations is not an entirely new feature, as it had been previously been made available to users on other platforms starting back in the fall. To date, the feature has been available on the web version of the service, as well as in a desktop app for PC and Mac, and on Amazon Fire tablets.

However, iOS users had yet to have access to something similar, though several had requested the feature make the leap to their iPhone. It seems, though, that feature has yet to make its way to the Amazon Music with Prime Music Android application on Google Play, we should note.

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While somewhat minor in the grand scheme of things, the addition puts Amazon’s streaming music service one step closer to being on par with its larger competitors in the industry, at least in terms of feature set. First launched last summer, the service is one of the many benefits Amazon now includes with its $99/year membership program Amazon Prime, which also provides subscribers with things like free, 2-day shipping, access to Amazon Prime Instant Video and the Kindle Lending Library.

However, while the new features make Prime Music more functional, Amazon has yet to increase the service’s catalog since its 2014 debut. At the time, the company announced the service would offer over 1 million songs to paying members, which they could stream on demand ad-free, thanks to licensing deals Amazon forged with Warner Music, Sony and other independent labels.

But Amazon lacked a similar deal with Universal Music, meaning its service can’t offer access to some of the bigger artists today, like Katy Perry or Kayne West, for example. That remains the case today, it seems. According to Amazon’s website, Prime Music is still limited to “over a million songs” and searches for Universal artists like the above don’t return the artists in the results.

That said, when Prime Music first arrived, the company claimed that it wasn’t really about trying to steal users away from other competitors – it didn’t view streaming music as a “zero sum” game. The idea, then, was not to get people to switch streaming music providers, but to also use Prime Music in addition to others, as well as to draw in new Prime subscribers who can tick off access to free music as another reason to join Amazon’s paid program.