Tech

Amazon’s New HD Music Streaming Service Offers Lossless Audio Files

Amazon has launched Amazon Music HD which is a tier of its music streaming service that offers songs in lossless quality. Seen as a direct competitor to Tidal, Amazon Music HD has 50 million songs available in ‘high-definition’ quality. Out of these 50 million songs, almost 10 million songs are available in ‘Ultra HD’ quality.

By the term ‘Ultra-HD,’ Amazon means songs in the highest quality lossless. Ultra HD songs will have a bit depth of 24 bits, with sample rates ranging from 44.1kHz up to 192 kHz and an average bitrate of 3730 kbps. To draw a comparison, Amazon’s Ultra HD songs have 10 times the bitrate offered by standard music streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify.

While Tidal offers songs in MQA(Master Quality Authenticated) format to preserve the quality, songs on Amazon Music HD will be available in FLAC(Free Lossless Audio Codec) file format.

According to Steve Boom, Amazon’s VP of Music, the company wants Amazon Music HD to compete with streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, unlike Tidal which serves artists mainly.

Spotify has also tested songs in lossless quality in the past but has not rolled out a plan especially offering high-definition music. Apple Music, on the other hand, uses AAC format which is considered superior to MP3 format in terms of retaining quality.

Supported Devices

Amazon Music HD will work on all the devices that support 16-bit/44.1 kHz or higher. iOS devices released after 2014 and running iOS 11 or higher will be compatible and Android devices running on Android Lollipop or higher will be able to stream HD and Ultra-HD audio files.

1 Ultra-HD Song = 153 MB

On its FAQ page, Amazon mentions that the song’s size depends upon the file’s bit depth, sampling frequency and compression codec used. For a 3.5 minutes song in SD quality, the average file size would be 9MB, HD quality songs will acquire 51MB and one Ultra-HD song with maximum 192 kHz sample rate will be of 153MB.

Required Data Speed

Amazon says that you need a steady internet connection with 1.5Mbps to 2Mbps speed for streaming HD quality songs. For Ultra-HD, you’d require 5 to 10Mbps internet speed.

Amazon Music HD Subscription

Amazon Music HD will be available from $14.99/mo onwards. Amazon Prime subscribers can avail the service at $12.99/mo. The service will be available in the US, UK, Germany, and Japan as of now and Amazon is also offering a 90-days free trial.

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