Amazon has been regularly expanding the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick’s music capabilities. A music section was added to the Fire TV a couple months after the device’s launch, giving users access to their uploaded and purchased music. Coinciding with the release of the Fire TV Stick, we saw the addition of Prime Music on both devices, but you initially could only play Prime music which you first explicitly added to your music library via Amazon’s website. It wasn’t until the addition of Prime Music Playlists that users gained access to a wider selection of Prime Music through the Fire TV. Now Amazon is adding even more music options with the addition of Prime Music Stations, which let you select an artist or genre from which you want to hear related music.
Access to Prime Stations is currently only available to those who installed the Fire OS 5 Developer Preview. Big thanks to AFTVnews reader Brad W. for tipping me off on the new addition. This is the first new feature exclusive to Fire OS 5. It’s unclear if Prime Stations will come to Fire OS 3, or if Fire TV owners will have to wait until Fire OS 5 is finalized before gaining access to the new music option. Much like Fire OS 5, the Prime Stations feature is still unstable, having crashed on me several times. I do not recommend installing the developer preview just to gain access to Prime Stations.
Prime Music Stations are available in Fire OS 5 for the Fire TV in three methods: by genre, by artist, and by popularity. There are 25 genres available like Pop, Rock, Decades, and Indie. Each genre contains dozens of stations specific to that genre.
Browsing Prime Stations by artist reveals an alphabetical list of 760 artists to choose from. Selecting an artist will algorithmically play music which fans of the selected artist find appealing.
Lastly, browsing the list of popular Prime Stations brings up a list of 846 stations based on a mixture of artists and genres.
Regardless of which Prime Station you select, a thumbs up and thumbs down button is available for each song being played. Selecting the thumbs up button will play more music related to the thumbed up song. Selecting the thumbs down button will immediately skip to the next song and adjust the station to include less music like the one being thumbed down. Your likes and dislikes are remembered for each station so that the next time you play a station it will be more tailored to your taste.
Prime Stations do not currently appear in search results on the Fire TV. There are also currently no filtering or sorting options available. These two omissions make it incredibly tedious to select an artist’s Prime Station if the artist is on the far end of the alphabet. Playing the ZZ Top Prime Station, for example, requires you to scroll past 700+ stations.
The feature is rightfully only available with the Fire OS 5 preview because it is not ready for mainstream. I’m sure the fine folks at Lab126 will make it easier to get to your favorite stations by the time the feature is released to everyone. In the meantime, it’s great seeing this highly requested feature in action.