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Amazon Music now offers high-quality HD streaming at no extra charge
- Amazon now offers lossless HD streaming to Music Unlimited subscribers at no extra charge.
- All songs are available at 16-bit and 44.1kHz, and 7 million songs are available in 24-bit, 192kHz Ultra HD.
- The upgrade is initially available in North America, the UK and parts of Europe.
Apple Music isn’t the only major streaming service raising quality across the board. Amazon has revealed that its lossless Music HD tier will be available to Music Unlimited subscribers at no extra charge. You can sign up here for the service, which is available at $7.99 per month for Prime members, $9.99 for individuals, and $14.99 for families. It’s initially accessible to customers in the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.
The Amazon Music HD upgrade boosts the quality of virtually every song on Unlimited (over 70 million tracks) to CD quality, or 16-bit depth at a 44.1kHz sampling rate. About 7 million of those songs are available in a 24-bit, 192kHz Ultra HD option if you have the audio hardware to support it. A handful of music is also available in 3D formats like Dolby Atmos and Sony’s 360RA, although you’ll need appropriate equipment like Amazon’s own Echo Studio.
Amazon previously charged an extra $5 per month for Music HD access.
It’s not certain whether or not Amazon timed the Music HD expansion to counter Apple’s move. The timing is convenient, however — you now have two choices for lossless streaming on a host of devices. It’s not great news for Tidal and similar brands, though. Tidal built its name partly on high-quality streaming, and it can no longer count on that angle to bring you in.
Both moves also create headaches for Spotify. It’s still planning to introduce its lossless HiFi option later in 2021 — Amazon Music HD and Apple Music’s upgrade may have arrived weeks or even months sooner. We wouldn’t count on Amazon or Apple catching up to Spotify’s subscriber base any time soon, but this might give you a reason to skip Spotify if you want high-quality listening in the near future.