The American giant Amazon has recently announced the launch of its Amazon Music HD service. This new tier will provide future subscribers with access to over 50 million tracks in FLAC format and 16-bit/44.1kHz CD quality. Moreover, Amazon Music HD users will be able to enjoy millions of Ultra HD titles. These tracks are in 24-bit/192kHz HD format, just like the tracks provided by French streaming platform Qobuz. Download options will also be available.
The Amazon Music HD tier is available for €14.99 a month or €12.99 for Amazon Prime users. Each Amazon Music subscription comes with a 90 day trial period so that each new user can try out high-definition streaming for free. For the moment, Amazon Music HD is only available in the United States, the UK, Germany and Japan.
Amazon therefore joins online music services Tidal, Deezer and Qobuz in offering CD quality and even Hi-Res quality content for streaming. The Seattle company has announced that its Ultra HD service will allow users to listen to uncompressed tracks and discover details previously lost due to the lossy compression applied to SD streams on the Amazon Music platform. Therefore, this is definitely high-definition restitution and not just CD quality. Amazon has also proven its total confidence in this streaming service by inviting legendary musician and renowned audiophile Neil Young to share his insight. Visibly impressed, Neil Young stated “Earth will be changed forever when Amazon introduces high quality streaming to the masses.” He also went on to say that the Amazon service would be “the biggest thing to happen in music since the introduction of digital audio 40 years ago.”
Spotify’s vice president has also commented on Amazon’s new offer. They stated that sound quality is not a decisive factor in the competition between streaming services and subsequently concluded by saying that Spotify has no intention of offering a high-definition tier comparable to Amazon Music HD at this time. This view isn’t shared by Steve Boom, the vice president of Amazon Music, who believes that the three most important factors for users are the available catalog, ease of use and sound quality. Boom also affirms that the ability to “listen to music at this level of quality will allow Amazon Music HD users to rediscover music by their favorite artists.”
A test carried out by American magazine Variety during which a smartphone with an Amazon Music HD subscription was connected to a very high-end McIntosh system provided enlightening results. The magazine reported that modern productions were clear, more detailed and dynamic, whereas older recordings, like Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, for example, combined the warmth of vinyl and the definition of a CD.
Amazon’s official statement concerning the arrival of Amazon Music HD highlights the importance of offering fans the possibility to listen to their favorite music exactly as the artist intended.
Compatible with a wide range of devices, including most Denon and Marantz HEOS Built-in, Polk Audio, Definitive Technology, Sonos, McIntosh and Sennheiser electronics, Amazon Music HD allows subscribers to enjoy high-definition sound without a physical source. This service provides 24-bit/192kHz music streams wherever you are as long as you have a subscription and an HD DAP that is compatible with Android.