Move over, Tidal. There's a new Hi-Fi music streaming app in town. Amazon just announced Amazon Music HD, a new lossless high-quality streaming tier to be added to its existing music streaming service.
This essentially pits Amazon Music against Tidal, which is currently the only major streaming service offering a Hi-Fi tier. Like Tidal, Amazon Music HD will offer lossless versions of audio files, but at a much lower price.
Amazon Music HD
Amazon is going to charge just $15 a month for the new service, cut to $13 for Amazon Prime subscribers. Tidal, on the other hand, offers the same Hi-Fi streaming service for $20. There were rumors about this plan months ago, and now it turns out those rumors are actually true.
With over 50 million songs to be offered in "High Definition," as Amazon puts it, the new service is bound to be an attractive option for those looking to up their music streaming game. Spotify, Apple Music, and most other streaming options stream in lower quality, although it's still a topic of debate whether the differences are significant to casual listeners with little to no fancy audio gear.
Amazon's Lossless Audio
To note, Amazon's "High Definition" refers to tracks with CD-quality bit depth of 16 bits and a sample rate of 44.1 kHz. The company apparently also has "millions" of songs in "Ultra HD" quality, which pertains to tracks that are 24-bit and boast sample rates ranging from 44.1 kHz up to 192 kHz. Amazon Music HD will deliver lossless tracks in the FLAC format instead of the MQA format used by Tidal.
Steve Boom, Amazon's VP of Music, says it's a "pretty big deal" that one of the three major music streaming services is offering a lossless tier. Amazon often isn't included when it comes to conversations discussing which music streaming service is the best, but this new addition may just give it a leg up in the race. The trick now, though, is to convince people to care about music quality. Most casual listeners are fine with the audio quality they're getting from their app of choice, and Amazon must convince them they deserve to hear better quality music.
Boom did not give out a specific subscriber count, but reports say Amazon Music has over 32 million users as of April. In that same month, Spotify pushed past the 100 million mark. Spotify has tested lossless audio in the best but has yet to roll out the option.
Amazon Music HD is available now, and the company is offering users a 90-day free trial. It will be available in the United States, UK, Germany, and Japan.