Amazon undercuts Tidal while beating Apple and Spotify to the HD music streaming punch

Amazon undercuts Tidal while beating Apple and Spotify to the HD music streaming punch
Amazon's music streaming platform is technically older than both Spotify and Apple Music, but until just a couple of years ago, it didn't seem like the e-commerce giant was taking this thriving industry very seriously. That changed with the introduction of an Amazon Music Unlimited service separated from the company's Prime subscription, which costs a traditional $9.99 a month.

But in addition to being able to lower that price to $7.99 with a Prime membership, $3.99 for single-device listening on an Echo, Tap, or Fire TV, or even $0 with ads and a number of other restrictions, you can now choose a super-premium service tier starting at $12.99. Don't worry, this option isn't actually called Amazon Music Unlimited Premium, but rather Amazon Music HD, granting unlimited, ad-free access to "more than" 50 million songs in High Definition and "millions" of songs in Ultra High Definition.

Obviously, HD and Ultra HD are used as generic terms to describe advanced technologies and specifications most everyday consumers are probably not familiar with. Audiophiles will be happy to hear both quality ranges stand for lossless music, available with a depth of 16 bits, a minimum sample rate of 44.1 kHz, and an average bitrate of 850 kbps in "HD", while the "Ultra HD" library consists of tracks upgraded to 24 bits, a sample rate of up to 192 kHz, and a 3730 kbps average bitrate.


Keep in mind that an Amazon Music HD subscription includes access to both the HD and Ultra HD libraries, setting you back $12.99 a month only if you're an existing Prime member. Otherwise, you'll have to pay $14.99, which is still 5 bucks lower than what Tidal charges for a similar HiFi individual plan. A family license is $19.99, compared to $29.99 for Tidal Family HiFi, while Spotify and Apple Music don't have a lossless service tier yet.

If you haven't subscribed to Amazon Music Unlimited before, you can even get a 90-day Amazon Music HD free trial for a limited time. Just remember your membership will be automatically renewed at the regular monthly fee once your complimentary 90 days are up if you don't take the time to cancel it. 

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8 Comments

1. Mike88

Posts: 438; Member since: Mar 05, 2019

Wow I remember when 320kbps was the gold standard of music in mp3 era.. 3730 kbps is gonna be insanely amazing.

6. Abdbaas

Posts: 154; Member since: Apr 05, 2016

As if you would hear the difference smh

8. Mike88

Posts: 438; Member since: Mar 05, 2019

Sony has recently launched the new 40th anniversary Walkman powered by android with crazy specs for audiophiles. It’ll be the true device to experience this ultra HD quality.

2. Be_Mine

Posts: 299; Member since: Dec 29, 2013

Nice... Now, they just need to launch it in more countries including mine. Tidal Hifi is still on the costlier side, especially when you get charged by Dollar to Rupee exchange rates + Taxes.

4. w1000i

Posts: 251; Member since: Jul 22, 2015

You need better DAC and amplifer to enjoy this. Not in your apple Earbud. At least Sony LDAC could show sound improvement.

5. Abdbaas

Posts: 154; Member since: Apr 05, 2016

Absolutely useless (for 99.99% of the people). Take 2 mp3s of the same song. Have one in 128kbps and the other at 192kbps. People will not hear the difference, especially with their airpods or any earphone for that matter. So 3000+ kbps? That's just silly.

7. mixedfish

Posts: 1563; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

You can absolutely hear the difference in MP3 quality, MP3 was hugely flawed in compression but was made popular because it was freeware. If you cannot hear the difference between the bitrate in MP3 then you are simply tone deaf.

9. Abdbaas

Posts: 154; Member since: Apr 05, 2016

Just pay attention when you read a comment next time instead of jumping on the "I'm better than you" wagon.

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