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Amazon Music Introduces High-Definition Audio Streaming Tier Backed By Neil Young
It's 2019, and at this point in the streaming audio resolution race, if you've got Neil Young running by your side, you're doing something right...
Amazon Music announced a new subscription tier of high-definition audio, making it the first major streaming service to offer digital sound at both CD quality and at an even-higher resolution they call "Ultra HD."
This big step forward in the quest to bring audio quality to mass consumers even earned backing from Young himself, which is saying something. Remember, "The Godfather of Grunge" has been championing audio quality for some time and even tried his own hand at high-res streaming services, so his endoresment is telling.
“This will be the biggest thing to happen in music since the introduction of digital audio 40 years ago,” Young said in a statement.
For the launch of #AmazonMusicHD, they asked me to give a closer listen to “The Thunder Rolls.” This is pretty awesome, check it out on @AmazonMusic https://t.co/7xBT5PvtzG love, g pic.twitter.com/yJIbebo6r8
— Garth Brooks (@garthbrooks) September 17, 2019
It seems after a decade of streaming, now is finally the time when demand for higher quality audio and the technological capabilities merge.
“We all have 50 million songs at the tip of our fingers and music’s never been more convenient than it is today,” said Steve Boom, vice president at Amazon. “What’s been lost in that march forward has been this sacrifice in audio quality.”
While other services such as Tidal have offered high-def sound, they've always targeted a niche audiophile audience. But with Amazon Music now the third largest subscription service, their new offering is primed (no pun intended) to reach more listeners than ever. Plus, Tidal's top-tier plan costs $19.99/month while Amazon's new plan will be just $12.99/month for Prime and $14.99 for non-members.
Has Amazon found the streaming sweet spot in terms of balancing price convenience and demand for high-res audio? With streaming accounting for 80 percent of music revenue from recorded music, perhaps Amazon's audio quality powermove will grow their marketshare - currently they report 34 million subscribers compared to Apple Music's 60 million and Spotify's 108 million. Or perhaps Amazon's plan will push its competitors to follow suit. Either way, it's a win for music makers and music lovers who seek high fidelity all the way down to the end user.
“This is the next wave in music streaming,” said Boom.
Consumers won't have to wait to find out. Amazon Music launches its new tier today in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Japan, with over 50 million CD-quality audio tracks in CD-quality plus millions of tracks in “Ultra-HD.”