Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers can now avail Amazon’s lossless Amazon Music HD tier at no additional cost.
HD Tier – which previously cost users an additional £ 5 per month on top of Amazon Music’s Unlimited Individual and Family Plan – will be free for all unlimited users from the next billing cycle.
Amazon Music HD allows users to stream over 70 million tracks in lossless, HD quality with a bit depth of 16 bits and a sampling rate of 44.1kHz, matching CD quality. Amazon also offers an additional seven million songs in 24 bit / 192 kHz, which is better than CD quality, Ultra HD.
Eligible Amazon Music Unlimited users will have access to Amazon’s growing list of songs remixed in 3D audio formats, including Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Reality Audio.
“When we first launched Amazon Music HD, our goal was to lead the industry to stream the best quality recordings to music fans around the world,” said Steve Boom, VP of Amazon Music.
“We are thrilled to make Amazon Music HD available to everyone at no additional cost. All music fans should have access to this quality of music, and now they do! “
Apple officially confirmed its own support for lossless audio after weeks of rumors as to the announcement. Apple’s lossless audio will be available to customers this June at no additional charge.
Amazon uses FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) files to deliver lossless music, while Apple plans to use more than 75 million songs as lossless audio using its own Apple-backed ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) format. List is to be provided.
By including lossless audio in their respective premium packages, Amazon and Apple have effectively raised the bar for music streaming sites. Spotify and Tidal may have to consider dropping their own prices if they want to match the price offered by their rivals.
This is particularly bad news for Spotify, which recently announced its own HiFi tier and raised membership prices for its student, duo and family levels in the UK. Spotify has not yet revealed how much the HiFi tier will cost from its premium package, but announcements from Amazon and Apple could put Spotify HiFi in the awkward position of being the pricier option of the three.