Amazon Launches New Lossless Streaming Tier

Neil Young says Amazon Music HD "will be the biggest thing to happen in music since the introduction of digital audio 40 years ago"
Amazon Launches New Lossless Streaming Tier
While Amazon Music isn't always front and centre in the music streaming service arms race, the company is looking to get a leg up on competitors with the introduction of a high-resolution audio subscription tier.

Dubbed Amazon Music HD, the new tier offers users lossless audio files to stream and download for $14.99 USD a month, or $12.99 USD if you're an Amazon Prime customer. Amazon Music HD launches today after its reported development this past April.

By comparison, Tidal's Hi-Fi plan costs $19.99 USD a month, while Spotify and Apple Music have yet to offer true lossless subscription tiers.

Amazon Music boasts a catalog of over 50 million songs it calls "High Definition" — audio that is encoded at a bit depth of 16 bits with a 44.1kHz sample rate. The service also offers "millions of songs" in an "ultra HD" format, which play at "more than 10x the bitrate of standard streaming services."

On the company's launch page, Amazon Music says HD and Ultra HD audio will be compatible with products from trusted audiophile brands such as McIntosh, Martin Logan and Rotel. 

As The Verge points out, Amazon's new offerings are even Neil Young-approved. In a press release, the notoriously discerning audiophile wrote, "Earth will be changed forever when Amazon introduces high quality streaming to the masses. This will be the biggest thing to happen in music since the introduction of digital audio 40 years ago."

Amazon is currently offering a 90-day free trial for Amazon Music HD, which is available to users in the United States, U.K., Germany and Japan. While a launch date for Canada has yet to be set, you can watch a trailer for the service below.