Amazon Music HD Launches High-Res Audio for the Masses?

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Amazon Music HD

Amazon’s much-anticipated Amazon Music HD, has finally launched and with it comes millions of CD-quality and high-resolution audio tracks that consumers can stream.

The new streaming service offers 50 million tracks with a CD-quality bitrate of 16 bit/44.1kHz (which Amazon interestingly has labelled as “HD tracks”) but also millions more in 24-bit/192 kHz which will raise more than a few eyebrows at rivals, Tidal, and Qobuz.

Tidal and Qobuz have both struggled to gain acceptance outside of the audiophile-base; even with artist exclusivity, videos, and much better sound quality than Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music — until now.

Amazon has the library, money, and customer base to make Amazon Music HD a huge step forward for high-resolution audio streaming — leaving one to wonder about the long-term viability of the much smaller streaming services. Nobody wants to see Tidal or Qobuz fail; especially not those of us who have been paying $20/month for the past five years and have a few thousand albums saved and use both services on our smartphones, laptops, and with dedicated streamers at home.

Amazon has a planned hardware launch on the 25th of September, and it’s a good bet that the next generation of Echo products will feature support for high-resolution audio streaming.

Another solid bet is that support for Amazon Music HD will be announced by major hardware brands like NAD, Sony, Marantz, Denon, Bluesound, Naim, and others before the holiday shopping season.

The service is now live in the United Kingdom, United States, Germany and Japan. It costs $12.99 a month for Prime subscribers, or $14.99 if you don’t have Prime.

$5 less per month than Tidal and $10 less than Qobuz if you subscribe to the high-res platform.

For more information: Amazon Music HD