The streaming wars are hotting up! Amazon has announced that Amazon Music HD, the company's lossless and hi-res audio service, will now be free for all Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers.
The news comes hot-on-the-heels of Apple Music adding lossless audio (and Spatial Audio) at no extra charge, and leaves the soon-to-launch Spotify HiFi looking like it will have to be free to keep in line with the competition.
It remains to be seen how Deezer, Tidal and Qobuz will convince customers to keep paying extra for its lossless and hi-res audio tiers now that Apple and Amazon offer the same quality, in theory, at no extra cost.
The Amazon Music Unlimited Individual Plan costs £7.99 ($7.99) per month for Prime members and £9.99 ($9.99) per month for Amazon customers, while the Family Plan is £14.99 ($14.99) permonth – and both now include lossless audio. The Amazon Music HD tier was previously an additional £5 ($5) per month. For current subscribers to Amazon Music HD, there will be no extra charge for HD starting with their next billing cycle.
Amazon Music HD gives you access to 70 million songs in CD-quality and hi-res audio – double the bitrate of many standard music streaming services. Tempted? You can get a 3-month free trial to try out the service.
- Apple Music lossless supported devices: what will (and won't) play lossless and Spatial Audio, and why
So what is Amazon Music HD? And should you really try it out?
Amazon has been in the music streaming business for well over a decade, first with its Amazon Prime offering, and then with its fully-fledged Apple Music and Spotify rival, Amazon Music Unlimited. As of late last year it has also gone a step further by taking on the likes of Tidal and Qobuz with its own CD-quality and hi-res music streaming tier. And, you guessed it, this is the service we're talking about: Amazon Music HD.
You can access Amazon Music HD through three different avenues: a web browser, a dedicated desktop app or through an Android or iOS mobile app – although it’s worth noting that you can’t actually stream CD-quality music or hi-res tracks on the web browser mode.
Amazon refers to HD tracks as having a ”bit depth of 16-bits, a minimum sample rate of 44.1 kHz (also referred to as CD-quality), and an average bitrate of 850 kbps”. What the service calls UHD tracks, on the other hand, “have a bit depth of 24-bits, sample rates ranging from 44.1 kHz up to 192 kHz, and an average bitrate of 3730 kbps.”
It's a great service: it's easy to use, has an extensive library of CD-quality and hi-res music and it is cheaper than its competitors. Our advice? A free 90-day trial seems like a no brainer.
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