Amazon Music HD is a new subscription tier offering lossless audio of the highest possible quality
Amazon has unmasked its new Music streaming subscription service, called Amazon Music HD. Available now, the new service will upgrade your listening experience, drawing on a bank of some 50 million high definition and ultra-high definition tracks and albums so you can hear the music “as it was originally recorded.”
The new service has received an endorsement from rock legend Neil Young, who said: “Earth will be changed forever when Amazon introduces high-quality streaming to the masses.” Then again, he did also believe the Pono MP3 player would change the world, and it demonstrably didn’t.
From a practical perspective, Amazon Music HD is a new tier of subscription that sits on top of the standard Amazon Music service. It reportedly offers 50 million tracks with a bit depth of 16 bits and a sample rate of 44.1kHz – commonly regarded as CD quality – as well as unspecified “millions” of ultra-high-definition tracks with a bit depth of 24 bits and a sample rate of 192kHz.
This places Amazon Music HD on a level with the likes of Tidal and Qobuz, both of whom offer a similar high-def, uncompressed audio experience. In addition, the service uses FLAC, an open-source lossless file format designed to be more accessible than the proprietary MQA format used by Tidal.
Audiophiles who are suitably impressed by those stats will have to pay £14.99/mth for the Music HD subscription. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, that price comes down to £12.99/mth; existing Amazon Music customers, meanwhile, can add the HD subscription for an extra £5.99/mth.
Prospective customers should probably be aware that, although Amazon Music HD will play songs at a higher audio quality than the standard subscription, playback is heavily dependent upon network conditions – in other words, if you’re connected to rubbish Wi-Fi, don’t expect ultra HD audio.
New and current Amazon Music subscribers will be granted a 90-day Music HD trial period at no extra cost. The service is available now in the UK, US, Germany, Austria and Japan, and is compatible with most Amazon Music-enabled devices (smart speakers, smartphones, tablets and so forth). To find out more, visit the Amazon Music HD website via the link below.