Amazon Music has launched a brand new "HD" subscription level to their streaming service. This feature puts them at the top of the pack, being one of the first major streaming services to offer high-fidelity digital audio.
Joining the likes of smaller platforms Tidal and Qobuz, Amazon will be offering about 50 million songs in their library available to stream as CD quality audio. The two giants of the music streaming world, Spotify and Apple Music, are yet to offer high-resolution audio.
The HD resolution songs are essentially CD quality audio - 16 bit files with sampling rates of 44.1 kHz. If you need any more convincing, also included is a subset of "millions" of those songs available at the "Ultra HD" level - up to 24 bit and 192 kHz.
Amazon Music HD is available now for $12.99 per month for Amazon Prime members or $14.99 for regular customers. “With this pricing, we are signaling to the world that quality is for everybody,” Steve Boom, the vice president of Amazon Music, told the Times. It's main competitor, Tidal, is currently offering plans for $19.99 per month.
Consumers may be skeptical, however. Many academic studies have shown that average consumers can't really tell the difference between high and low quality audio. Musician Neil Young disagrees, and is in massive favour of the high quality audio endeavour. “Earth will be changed forever when Amazon introduces high quality streaming to the masses,” Young told the Times. “This will be the biggest thing to happen in music since the introduction of digital audio 40 years ago.”
For now, the HD service is limited to customers located in the US, UK, Germany and Japan. We'll definitely be keeping an ear out when the service hits Aussie shores.
Reacquaint yourself with the history of music streaming here.