Amazon Rumored to Launch High-Fidelity Music Streaming Platform By End of 2019

Amazon is reportedly readying a high-fidelity music streaming service that's set to launch by the end of the year. According to Music Business Worldwide, Amazon is in discussions with various large music rights-holders regarding the upcoming launch of the new streaming platform, which is likely to cost $15 per month.

"It's a better bit rate, better than CD quality," one source told MBW. "Amazon is working on it as we speak: they're currently scoping out how much catalog they can get from everyone and how they'll ingest it."
Probably the best known hi-def music streaming service currently is Tidal's HiFi plan, which costs $19.99 per month and offers CD-quality lossless streams at 44.1 kHz / 16 bit. Subscribers to the plan also benefit from Tidal's partnership with MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) to deliver guaranteed master-quality recordings directly from the master source, which is billed as "an audio experience that the artist intended."

The rationale behind this is that while HiFi audio is a superior sound, it's still limited to 44.1 kHz / 16 bit resolution, whereas MQA audio is the highest possible resolution (typically 96 kHz / 24 bit). MBW understands that Amazon has not partnered with MQA for its own HD tier, suggesting it will use a different audio technology. It's not clear though whether the hi-fi service will be a standalone platform or a new tier option to be offered as part of Amazon's Music Unlimited service.

Apple Music streams 256kbps AAC files across the board and doesn't offer users a higher sound quality price plan, while Spotify uses the Ogg Vorbis format and lets Premium subscribers choose the bitrate depending on how they're listening. On mobile you can elect to stream in Low (24 kbit/s), Normal (96 kbit/s), High (160 kbit/s) or Very High (320 kbit/s) quality, which is handy if you're worried about using up your cellular data, but none of these options could be called "hi-fidelity" streaming.
News of Amazon's plans for a hi-fi audio streaming service comes a week after Amazon launched a free, ad-supported music streaming service for owners of devices that support Alexa, but who are otherwise not Prime or Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers.

Tag: Amazon


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12 weeks ago
What you guys gonna listen HiFi music on? Your Bluetooth headphones?

Need a proper system for this sort of thing.
Rating: 27 Votes
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12 weeks ago
I hope this challenges all services to add a Hi-Fi tier.
Funny thing, I got a free 3 month trial to Tidal from GQ so after running across some comments about the better sound quality I decided to use it thinking I'd be able to test the Hi-Fi version which is their main differentiator from other services but they don't even let you trial it so if I can't see how their sound is different from the others how do they expect me to switch.
Rating: 9 Votes
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12 weeks ago

I tested Apple Music and Tidal hifi together on my wireless Beats Studio 2’s and no no the greatest headphones... Tidal definitely sounds better! Which is I kept Tidal


Placebo. Unless you conducted a volume-matched, blind ABX tests, your results are flawed due to the placebo affect. Not only that but you listened over Bluetooth where listening tests have shown that it doesn't matter if your source file is lossless or lossy. It's all being re-compressed via AAC or SBC over Bluetooth anyways and doesn't matter. You'll need LDAC if you even want to attempt to hear a difference between lossy and lossless using Bluetooth, even then it's likely a wash.
Rating: 8 Votes
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12 weeks ago
So the Partridge Family Christmas album will sound even better than it does on our $8.00 a month Amazon Streaming Service?! Wow!
Rating: 7 Votes
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12 weeks ago
Apple already has all the files in master quality because that’s how it’s been collecting from labels for years. If only there was a will for change... no excuses anymore.
Rating: 6 Votes
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12 weeks ago

What you guys gonna listen HiFi music on? Your Bluetooth headphones?

Need a proper system for this sort of thing.

Cables and speakers do still exist. Headphone amps and USB DACs beyond Apple‘s Lightning dongle, too. And there’s AptX which should work with a Mac OOTB.

Tidal and Amazon also run on non-Apple devices.

Plenty of ways.
Rating: 5 Votes
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12 weeks ago

I use the TIDAL App on my Yamaha 1070 Amp hooked up to Martin Logan Motion 40 speakers.

And you don‘t Need to be a hardcore Audiophile to hear the difference between Apple Music via AirPlay vs. TIDAL Running Directly on the Amp.

I would Love to see Apple offering HiFi Quality but I guess they wouldn‘t Allow 3rd Party vendors like Yamaha to integrate Apple Music directly so we would be stuck with AirPlay which isn‘t Perfect in Terms of Audio quality or is it? I couldn‘t find any data on that.

I tried to find some info months back, and I was unable to get an answer to whether airplay is a genuinely lossless transmission method. That said, even if airplay version 1 wasn’t, I’d be surprised if airplay 2 is not completely lossless. Now up to what bitrate and sampling rate, who knows (like can it support up to 192k/24bit?). I even watched an official Apple presentation video from one of their recent WWDCs where they went over the nitty gritty of airplay 2 for app developers, and they still didn’t make it clear.

I rip CDs in Apple lossless format, and sound quality is a big deal to me, so I got the most recent airport express (airplay 2 capable) used on eBay (since it was discontinued), and I have it hooked via optical digital cable to an Onkyo TX-8140 stereo amplifier. My 128gb iPhone XR is loaded up with my ALAC files, and it sounds great to me. Best thing is it’s a super convenient setup. When I select airplay on my phone, the Onkyo amp has a feature other amps don’t have where it detects an optical signal coming in and automatically turns the amp on, so I don’t have to do anything and can just relax with the phone as my remote. The amp also has a green/energy saver ability where it turns the amp off automatically after about 20 minutes of non use, so I don’t even have to worry about turning it off. It’s a really great setup for no-compromise high fidelity listening that’s also super convenient thanks to airplay partnered with the amp’s capabilities.
Rating: 4 Votes
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12 weeks ago
It take a awesome amount of money and professional ears to effectively hear the difference between 256k aac and CDs. Many will pay for the status.
Rating: 4 Votes
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12 weeks ago
256/320 kbps though not lossless, is technically high fidelity.
Rating: 3 Votes
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12 weeks ago

Apple already has all the files in master quality because that’s how it’s been collecting from labels for years. If only there was a will for change... no excuses anymore.


Apple will figure it out...they'll call it "Apple Music+" and charge more for it keeping the investors happy they are increasing revenue.


I actually expected Apple to launch a service like that when they released the iPhone 7... i thought they would release a solution to allow for bluetooth streaming in better quality at the same time..

3 years later and still nothing on both ends...


Sign me up.


Apple won't bother. There's no benefit to users if their only hardware is their iPhone, tv sound bars, smart speakers, Bluetooth speakers, and earbuds.


It’s shameful that Apple hasn’t already offered a hifi option. If they truly love music the way they have always claimed, this is a huge gap in their offerings. I will be very disappointed if they don’t address this at WWDC.


I use the TIDAL App on my Yamaha 1070 Amp hooked up to Martin Logan Motion 40 speakers.

And you don‘t Need to be a hardcore Audiophile to hear the difference between Apple Music via AirPlay vs. TIDAL Running Directly on the Amp.

I would Love to see Apple offering HiFi Quality but I guess they wouldn‘t Allow 3rd Party vendors like Yamaha to integrate Apple Music directly so we would be stuck with AirPlay which isn‘t Perfect in Terms of Audio quality or is it? I couldn‘t find any data on that.


Glad this option may be opening up. Compression may be necessary but original quality needs to be more accessible for those who are willing to pay for it. I am one of those, except personally, I’m not one for streaming.


Apple used to own digital music. Through mismanagement, they allowed other services like Spotify and Tidal to take giant chunks of market share. They also used to be the music lovers destination. And again, they’ve lost that title to Spotify and Tidal through their disproportionate focus on hip-hop and rap. If you can’t see how they went from Way out in front first to a distant second, especially culturally, you’re not paying attention.

Apple current approach to music is at "good enough" level". "Best available option" seems utopia with current management. Can't understand why some people here don't like others having more options.
Rating: 3 Votes
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