Amazon's Prime Music is no Spotify killer; with its fairly sparse and random catalog, the on-demand music service is mostly a nice "there when you need it" perk for Prime subscribers. Today, the company updated its Prime Music iOS app with a feature that is basically Amazon's take on Pandora or iTunes Radio. Genre and artist-based Prime Stations, which launched on the web a few months ago, can now be easily streamed on iPhone.
Once you start playing a station, you're afforded unlimited skips — which makes sense since you're technically paying for the feature as part of your Prime bill. The experience is very Pandora-ish; when a song's playing, you can give it the thumbs up or thumbs down to influence future selections. Any song you hear from a station can also be instantly added to your Prime library.
The entire app has been redesigned with a cleaner look that makes it much easier to pick between your own library or purchased or uploaded tracks and the albums that come as part of your Prime membership. In the latter section, Prime Stations will appear next to the leftmost "Recommendations" tab. You can launch radio for a certain genre — classical focus or power rock, for example — or individual musicians. But picking the "All Artists (A-Z)" option will offer yet another reminder that the selection here falls well short of Spotify, Google Play Music, Beats Music, Rdio, and everyone else.
Still, it's nice to see Amazon working to improve upon its software design, an area where the company has typically lagged badly behind competitors. And having synchronized song lyrics a tap away is also pretty nice. Like we said, Prime Music is there if you need it — and not the worst thing for Amazon customers who don't want to pay for a standalone subscription music service.