The Apple Music streaming service will reportedly offer 256kbps streams, though Apple hasn't confirmed whether the streaming service will use the AAC or MP3 audio format.

There was no hint of Apple Music's sound quality at the Apple launch event on Monday, with no mention of CD-quality, lossless audio, let alone high-res audio streams.

Instead, we presumed Apple's streaming service would fall in line with the industry standard compressed audio streams, set by the likes of Spotify. And it seems that will be the case.

Slashgear reports confirmation that Apple Music will deliver 256kbps streams, though Apple hasn't confirmed whether these are in the AAC or MP3 format.

MORE: Apple Music - everything you need to know

iTunes currently offers downloads in 256kbps AAC form, so it's fair to assume Apple would stick to its own audio coding standard. That said, Beats Music, which operated as a streaming music service in the US until Beats was acquired by Apple, offered 320kbps MP3 streams.

The likes of DeezerRdioSpotify and Tidal all offer 'up to 320kbps' streams in AAC, MP3 or Ogg Vorbis formats on their premium subscription services. Tidal, like Qobuz, also offers a higher bitrate, lossless audio tier for £20 per month rather than the £10 per month industry standard (which is also the Apple Music price).

AAC is widely regarded as a superior codec to MP3, with 256 AAC files seen as broadly comparable to 320 MP3s when it comes to audio quality. The Apple Music streaming service is due to launch on 30th June with the latest iOS 8.4 update on Apple devices. An Android app will follow later in the year.

MORE: Apple Music vs. Spotify, Tidal and more

MORE: Apple Music review





Paul Coenen's picture



I think rdio is now AAC, not mp3. Pretty sure they switched formats.

Joe Cox's picture


you're right. Thanks.