Amazon Music HD now offers a free upgrade to premium sound quality for all subscribers, Amazon announced. More than 70 million tracks in high definition and more than seven million songs in Ultra HD, as well as a rich catalogue of 3D audio in Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Reality Audio, would now be available to all customers.
Amazon Music HD is upgrading. From now on, the offers that were previously only available via additional costs compared to the standard subscription will be offered to all customers, and at no extra cost.
Amazon Music HD is thus clearly reacting to Apple’s announcement to offer Apple Music to all subscribers in “CD quality” or even, if available, in hi-res audio from June 2021.
Amazon Music HD upgrades
Amazon Music has announced that Amazon Music HD is now available to all Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers at no additional cost. The aim, it said, is to give even more music fans access to streaming in premium sound quality.
“When we launched Amazon Music HD, our goal was to make a mark in the industry and allow music fans around the world to stream music in the best possible recording quality that matches the artists’ intent. We are thrilled that we can now make Amazon Music HD available to everyone at no additional cost. All music fans should have access to premium quality music and we’ve made that possible!” Steve Boom, VP of Amazon Music
More than 70 million tracks in “HD quality”
Amazon Music claims to offer a catalogue of over 70 million music tracks in high definition. This claim has always been a little misleading, because what Amazon Music calls HD is ultimately “CD quality” music, delivering audio data at 16-bit and 44.1 kHz.
More than seven million tracks in Ultra HD
Amazon Music actually delivers hi-res audio for those titles that are labelled Ultra HD; these are recordings that are available in 24 bits and a sample rate of up to 192 kHz.
According to Amazon Music, this means that every nuance of the music can be presented; once again, it is said that music is available exactly as it was created by the artist.
Music in 3D via Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Reality Audio
Amazon Music was the first provider to offer music in surround, relying first and foremost on a cooperation with Sony and its Sony 360 Reality Audio format. Provided the customer has the appropriate hardware, music is supposed to be enjoyed in a completely new form, with room-filling sound coming from all directions.
Ultimately, however, these hardware solutions are more entry-level systems, so-called wireless speakers or smart speakers, such as the Amazon Echo Studio, or Sony RA5000 or Sony RA3000, which can play back content in 3D from Amazon Music HD via Amazon Alexa Cast.
In addition, there is now a steadily growing range of content encoded in Dolby Atmos, which has been specially mixed for music playback with immersive surround sound on high-quality AV receiver systems, for example.
Amazon Music HD in all its “glory” available now
Subscribers to Amazon Music Unlimited in Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Spain, the US and Canada are to upgrade to Amazon Music HD immediately at no additional cost.
New customers and subscribers to Amazon Music Unlimited Standard membership, which costs €7.99 per month for Prime members and €9.99 per month without Prime membership, or Family membership for €14.99 per month, can now easily upgrade to Amazon Music HD at no additional cost. Amazon Music HD previously cost subscribers to the standard or family membership an additional €5 per month. For all current Amazon Music HD subscribers, these additional costs for HD will be waived with the next billing cycle.
Getting to the point
Apple Corporation has just announced that from June 2021 Apple Music will be available to all subscribers in at least CD quality, and to a large extent also in Hi-res audio, at no additional cost. Amazon Music has already reacted by announcing that it will follow suit and also release the complete catalogue in CD quality as well as Hi-res audio for all subscribers, so that the previous additional costs will no longer apply with immediate effect.