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Amazon launches Music HD service for audiophiles seeking higher-quality streaming

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Amazon launches Music HD service for audiophiles seeking higher-quality streaming

  • Amazon Music HD launches today and offers higher-fidelity music streaming
  • The company is streaming millions of songs in two categories: HD and ‘Ultra HD’
  • It will start at $14.99 for non Amazon Prime users and $12.99 for subscribers
  • That price point will compete with HD music services like Tidal  

Amazon is making an aggressive play for music connoisseurs who want to stream their songs in high fidelity.

On Tuesday, the e-tailing giant launched Amazon Music HD which allows users to stream ‘lossless’ audio files — a type of file that retains much more of the digital information from its original form compared to the more common mp3.  

The HD songs will be similar to a CD-quality audio, while a separate class of songs that the company is calling ‘Ultra HD’ offer a greater bit-depth and sample rate that translate to higher fidelity.   

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Amazon has launched an HD music-streaming service that offers users greater fidelity. Prime users will be able to subscribe at a discount

Amazon has launched an HD music-streaming service that offers users greater fidelity. Prime users will be able to subscribe at a discount

Those sample rates and bit-depth will be contingent on what a given users’ network bandwidth will allow and is compatible with many, but not all, devices. 

Amazon Music HD, which is currently offering a catalog of 50 million songs, will cost $14.99 per month for customers without an Amazon Prime membership and $12.99 for those with one.

As noted by The Verge, that price point directly undercuts the next biggest competitor in high definition music-streaming, Tidal, which currently costs $19.99.  

WHAT IS AMAZON MUSIC HD? 

Amazon has launched a new music service that is focusing on letting users stream high-quality audio.

It will cost $14.99 for non-Prime customers and $12.99 for those who are Prime subscribers.

Customers will have ‘HD’ and ‘Ultra HD’ streaming options that boast higher bit-depths and sample rates.

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According to the company, the service will be compatible with many third-party devices, including products from Denon and Marantz with HEOS Built-in, Polk Audio, Definitive Technology, McIntosh, Sennheiser, and more.

Amazon hasn’t released exact numbers on how many of its users currently subscribe to Amazon Music, but according to The Verge’s own reporting, the service boasted somewhere around 32 million in April.

It’s unclear how big of a market Amazon will have in trying to court users concerned with getting the highest possible streaming quality.

Spotify, by the far the biggest player in the music-streaming business with more than 100 million subscribers, has found success without offering similarly high bit depths and sample rates — an indication that the audio nuances may be frivolous to many consumers.

Regardless, at least one major name in the music industry has already endorse the service. In a statement on the launch, Amazon tapped rock legend Neil Young to extol the virtues of high-fidelity audio.

‘Earth will be changed forever when Amazon introduces high quality streaming to the masses,’ said Young. 

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

It will be available starting Tuesday in the US, UK, Germany and Japan and is offering a 90-day free trial to new users.  

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