For comparison a Tidal subscription costs £19.99/$19.99 per month for access to HD streaming for one. Spotify and Apple Music remain non-HD services both at £9.99/$9.99 per month. Tidal has struggled for success in the HD streaming market and Amazon’s new push into it, along with its strong Prime brand, is worrying for Tidal.
Prime subscribers already get free access to some of Amazon Music and Amazon’s advertising might could be enough to sway some to buy into Music HD. It’ll surely be targeting new subscribers first, as people don’t often switch music streaming services because they will lose playlists and algorithm data that’s tailored to them.
But if you like the idea of streaming but notice the sub-CD quality of Spotify and Apple Music, then this could be the music service for you. If it matters to you, £5/$5 extra per month for 50 million CD-quality songs is a bit of a no-brainer and it's noticeable how accessible Amazon makes it seem, when Tidal was wrongly marketed as an exclusive brand.
HD quality a cool upgrade to your streaming habits that you’ll definitely notice over decent headphones and speakers, though we’re not sure if we are as excited as Neil Young is, who said, “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.”
Young’s own HD music venture Pono only ran between 2014-2017. He launched a physical iPod-style music player and download service, but it butted heads with people’s preference for streaming on their existing phones. Amazon looks like it has got him excited again.
Steve Boom, VP of Amazon Music added, “From rock to hip-hop to classical and pop, we believe listening to music at this level of sound will make customers fall in love again with their favourite music and artists. As we usher in a new listening experience for our customers and the industry, we’re combining the convenience of streaming with all of the emotion, power, clarity and nuance of the original recordings.”
There’s a lot to be said for listening to your favourite music through the best quality headphones but emphasis isn’t always placed on the source of the music itself since Spotify and Apple Music started to rule the industry. That might be set to change.
Amazon Music HD rolls out in the UK, US, Germany, Austria and Japan.