Amazon Music launches ‘HD’ tier for lossless streaming

Spool, if you think it’s over

EVERYTHING STORE Amazon has announced it is rolling out a lossless option for its Amazon Music streaming service.

Amazon Music HD offers music at levels on par with nearest rival Tidal but at a significantly lower monthly subscription.

The standard tier, listed as ‘up to 320kbps’ but usually 256 in our experience, is flanked by High Definition (up to 850kbps, 44.1khz/16 bit) which is available for 50 million songs from the library, whilst Ultra HD (up to 3730kbps. 192khz, 24 bit) is available on “millions of songs” where “millions” is presumably somewhere between 2 million and 9,999,999.

All sound quality and compatibility is hardware dependent, and Amazon recommends you have a data speed of at least 1.5Mbps going on. Compatible equipment may also be required for decoding.

Prices start at £12.99 extra per month for Prime members, or it’s available as a standalone service for £14.99 per month. If you want to listen to HD music on your desktop machine, you need to download Amazon’s standalone app.

Compare that with Tidal, the biggest existing player in the space, which offers services at £9.99 for up to 320kbps and £19.99 for the ‘HD’ version, Tidal Premium.

Amazon is the first of the ‘big boys’ to offer streaming at this level. As its significantly smaller than Spotify or Apple Music, it needed to find a USP to lure people over. Alexa is certainly one argument in favour, but in fact, Spotify is available of so many devices, it almost isn’t relevant.

Music legend Neil Young, who is all-in on HD music already, said (possibly in exchange for money): “Earth will be changed forever when Amazon introduces high-quality streaming to the masses,”

Woah, steady on Neil.

“This will be the biggest thing to happen in music since the introduction of digital audio 40 years ago.”

Just ignore him. He means well. Has a heart of gold, in fact. µ

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