Amazon today introduced a new tier of Amazon Music, called Amazon Music HD, which offers lossless versions of audio files for streaming or downloading. This tier will cost $14.99/month, or $12.99/month for Amazon Prime members (via The Verge).
Amazon is offering a catalog of over 50 million songs in “High Definition,” which are songs with CD-quality bit depth of 16 bits and a 44.1kHz sample rate. Then, there are “millions” of songs in Ultra HD, meaning they have 24-bit and sample rates that range from 44.1kHz up to 192kHz.
All of these songs will be delivered in a lossless FLAC file format. Amazon is hoping that being the first of the so-called big three streaming music services (Amazon Music, Apple Music, and Spotify) to offer lossless streaming will win some converts. Tidal has always offered lossless streaming as one of its main selling points, but its price is $19.99/month, which Amazon is now undercutting.
Amazon’s VP of Music, Steve Boom says that “It’s a pretty big deal that one of the big three global streaming services is doing this — we’re the first one.” Amazon Music isn’t often in the conversation about music streaming competition, which usually ends up following a Spotify vs. Apple Music narrative. But Amazon considers itself in their company, and with the new HD offering it’s looking to differentiate itself and perhaps raise its profile.
According to reports from earlier this year, Amazon Music had 32 million subscribers as of April 2019. That compares to the 60 million subscribers gained by Apple Music as of June 2019, and the 100 million Spotify Premium subscribers as of April 2019.