Hi-fi music streaming is now officially mainstream. Tech giant Amazon announced a new tier to its music streaming service — Music HD, at higher quality and a higher cost. The new plan was rumoured a few months ago. This service is expected to offer lossless versions of audio files for streaming or downloading.
The service has begun in the U.S., UK, Germany, and Japan & is priced at $12.99/month for Amazon Prime members and $14.99/month for non-Prime members. Current Amazon Music subscribers can upgrade to the new upgraded HD tier for the additional amount.
Amazon has assured that the Amazon Music HD plan will “play the highest quality audio, the customer’s device and network conditions will support,” in its marketing materials, Amazon devices and third-party products that support high-resolution digital audio.
Reacting to the hype, Rock legend Neil Young, commended high-res music for its benefits. “Earth will be changed forever when Amazon introduces high-quality streaming to the masses,” he said in Amazon’s press release.
The latest launch by Amazon could give Spotify & Apple another push to rise to the occasion, if it finds success. Spotify recently started testing lossless audio. At the same time, Apple is attempting to get the best possible audio in the AAC format it uses, but stopped short of going lossless. Lossless music has a high bandwidth consumption and users might find it difficult to make out the difference between the Hi-Res & CD quality audio.
Amazon Music HD is offering a free pilot for 90 days as an early bird offer. No update has been shared on when it will be launched in India as of now.