Last week, Amazon unveiled a new “lossless” audio streaming service. Amazon Music HD is set to compete with other HD streaming services like Tidal Hi-Fi and Deezer. This gives Amazon an edge over Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play, which do not offer HD streaming on their main app.
The move is part of the retail giant’s plan to be a major player in the music streaming market. With more than 32 million subscribers, Amazon Music currently ranks as the third most popular streaming service based on subscriptions.
What is Amazon Music HD?
Music lovers can now stream and download over 50 million High Definition (HD) songs from the Amazon Music library, and 2 million Ultra HD songs. Most other music streaming platforms use “lossy” compression, which means they compress the song’s data to reduce the file size. Amazon Music HD, however, uses lossless compression, which means they retain more data from the original file.
Most music streaming services offer Standard Definition (SD) with a bitrate of up to 320 kbps. Amazon Music HD offers a bitrate of up to 850 kbps, more than double the rate of standard streaming services. Amazon Ultra HD offers a bitrate of up to 3,730 kbps, which is ten times higher than most streaming platforms.
“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 favorite music and artists,” Steve Boom, VP of Amazon Music, said in a press release. “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.”
How Much is Amazon Music HD?
Amazon Music HD costs $14.99 a month for regular users and $12.99 a month for Amazon Prime members. Current Amazon Music subscribers can add the HD option to their plan for $5 a month. Amazon offers a free 90-day trial for new members of Amazon Music Unlimited, and existing members who have an Amazon Music HD individual or family plan.
What Devices Support Amazon Music HD?
You can listen to Amazon Music HD on Alexa-enabled Echo devices (2nd-generation or newer), as well as your Fire TV device or Fire Tablet. You can also use any iOS devices that are running iOS 11 or later, and Android devices running on Android Lollipop or later.
To get the best streaming experience, Amazon recommends having an internet connection of 1.5 to 2 Mbps (megabits per second) for HD streaming and 5 to 10 Mpbs for Ultra HD streaming. Amazon also suggests using headphones and speakers with a frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz. You can see a list of preferred brands listed on the Amazon HD home page.
How to Download Amazon Music HD
- Download the Amazon Music App. You can find the app for Mac and PC on Amazon’s website, or download the app for your devices on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
- Sign in with your username and password. If you’re signing in for the first time, follow the prompts to Allow Amazon Music to access your media library and set up Alexa to work with the service.
- Use the search bar in the upper right corner to find a song or pick one from the home screen to start listening. You will see a yellow badge next to the player at the bottom of your window for any HD and Ultra HD songs. Tap or click it to view information about the track quality, device capability, and source file quality.
- To download Ultra HD songs, go to Settings > Advanced > Download Settings, and select “Best Available.” You can find the Settings by clicking on your name next to the search bar.
If you want to learn how to listen to Apple Music on your Alexa Device, check out our step-by-step guide here.