By: Nick Gambino
We’ve been streaming music on platforms like Spotify and Apple Music for so long we’ve nearly forgotten what high-quality audio sounds like. Amazon is here to remind us with a new music streaming plan called Amazon Music HD.
Offering what can be easily described as “CD-Quality audio,” Amazon Music HD is the company’s newest streaming plan that allows you to listen to lossless versions of music. For those who aren’t tech nerds or fans of Silicon Valley and don’t know what “lossless compression” means, please read on.
Digital audio files rely on compression to make them small enough so you can actually transfer them between devices and listen to them without the need for major processing power. While this allows you to listen to millions of songs at the simple tap of a button, especially when you’re streaming, it also takes a toll on the quality and fidelity of the audio.
Take your favorite song, if you were to listen to it on Vinyl or CD and compare it to the same song on Spotify, you’d notice that something is off. That something is a missing something. In order to compress the file and make it small enough to stream, they literally remove pieces of the audio. This affects the integrity of the audio, so what you hear is not the same as what you’d hear from the original recording.
HD streaming plans like you find on Tidal, and now Amazon, offer high-fidelity versions of these songs, with very little removed. Spotify and Apple Music have yet to create this type of experience on their respective platforms which is good news for the online retail giant. Beating the biggest streaming companies to the punch is the type of competition that will allow Amazon to close the gap in the music streaming race.
“It’s a pretty big deal that one of the big three global streaming services is doing this – we’re the first one,” Steve Boom, VP of Music at Amazon, tells The Verge.
The plan kicks off with over 50 million “High-Definition” songs and over 1 million “Ultra HD” songs available.
If you’d like to try it out, you can sign up for a free 90-day trial. After that, it’ll cost you $12.99 a month if you’re already a Prime member. If not, you’ll have to cough up $14.99 per month to listen to sweet Hi-Fi tunes.