Amazon launches today with a new music streaming offering that seeks to compete with rivals such as Deezer or Tidal by also providing lossless streaming in higher than standard quality. Amazon Music HD offers two new levels with 16-bit and 44.1 kHz as well as 24-bit and 192 kHz.
Amazon Music HD is offered at different prices, depending on whether you're a new customer, previously a user of Amazon Music Unlimited or Prime. New customers with Prime membership pay for Amazon Music HD 12.99 euros per month, for normal Amazon customers, the price rises to 14.99 euros, for families to 19.99 euros. Users of the previously offered music streaming without HD quality, who had to pay € 7.99 (Prime) or € 9.99 (without Prime), can switch to the new subscription for an additional charge of € 5 each.
90 days free of charge
Amazon Music Unlimited customers in the US, UK, Germany and Japan can upgrade to the new Amazon Music HD for 90 days at no additional cost, and downgrade to their regular subscription service after this trial if they do not like it.
Up to 24 bits at 192 kHz
Amazon's own information suggests that Amazon Music HD offers more than 50 million songs in lossless HD quality, details of the codec used as AAC, MP3 or Vorbis missing. HD quality defines Amazon with a sampling depth of 16 bits at a sampling rate of 44.1 kHz, which corresponds to CD quality. Millions of other songs, according to Amazon, should also be available in Ultra HD quality, which stands for 24 bits at 192 kHz.
Up to 3,730 kbps or 12 MB per minute
Amazon has an average bit rate of 850 kbit / s for quality level HD, and an average of 3.730 kbit / s for Ultra HD. Accordingly, according to Amazon Internet connections with 1.5 Mbit / s to 2 Mbit / s for HD quality and 5 Mbit / s to 10 Mbit / s for Ultra HD quality should be used. Up to 5.5 MB or 12 MB per minute should be consumed on average. More about Amazon Music HD and supported devices provide new FAQs.
Examples of songs in Ultra HD quality include Kendrick Lamar's “Alright” and St. Vincent's “Digital Witness.” In addition, Amazon Neil Young, champion of lossless stored music, has come on board as an advertising ambassador praising Amazon Music HD as the biggest change since the introduction of digital music 40 years ago.
Deezer, Tidal and Qobuz also offer higher quality
With its new offer, however, Amazon is not alone in the market. While Apple and Spotify with AAC at 256 kbit / s and Vorbis with 320 kbit / s have not yet come in lossless compressed music, offer, inter alia, Deezer, Tidal and Qobuz appropriate packages. Deezer HiFi provides FLAC at 16 bit and 44.1 kHz for € 19.99 per month. Tidal HiFi offers the same quality at the same price and also includes the Masters quality level in 24-bit MQA format at 96 kHz. Qobuz will be offering a Hi-Fi FLAC 16 bit and 44.1 kHz flat rate for 19.99 euros per month or 199.99 euros per year and more in the package studio for 5 euros (month) or 50 euros (year) FLAC with 24 Bit at 192 kHz offered.