Amazon could one-up Apple Music with new high-fidelity music tier

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Amazon Music
Amazon already has its own standard music streaming service.
Photo: Amazon

Amazon is reportedly in talks with some of the world’s largest music rights holders to launch a high-fidelity streaming service, costing around $15 per month.

Rumored to launch by the end of 2019, the service would offer a superior bit rate than many rivals. “It’s a better bit rate, better than CD quality,” a source told Music Business Worldwide. “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.”

From the sound of things, the service would be similar to the “Masters” tier offered by Jay-Z’s Tidal. Tidal offers thousands of albums at 96 kHz / 24 bit via desktop. Deezer also offers a $19.99 per month tier, which offers music at 44.1 kHz / 16-bit via FLAC files.

Apple and Spotify, the two clear market leaders in streaming music, offer no such tier. The report quotes a “senior US-based music industry source” as saying:

“So far, Spotify and Apple have resisted launching a higher-price streaming tier, and [the labels] have resisted giving more away for the same [$9.99 a month] price. With Amazon making this move, it feels like a positive step for consumer pricing flexibility, and good news for streaming [average revenue per user] generally. Spotify has just been outmaneuvered.”

Pushing others to change

If Amazon does launch such a service, it would seem most likely to have the biggest short-term impact on Tidal and Deezer. By offering a significant reduction per month, Amazon could steal many of the audiophiles who want music at the highest possible quality.

It will be interesting to see if such a move prompts Apple to change. Over the years, there have been multiple attempts to set up music offerings in high-fidelity. For many users, this still seems to be something that’s not hugely important. However, Apple has shown that it does care about sound quality. That is one of the big selling points of the HomePod. If Apple was able to offer high-fidelity music — and maybe even cheaper than Amazon — it could be a positive move for users.

What do you think? Is Amazon’s rumored service going to have Spotify and Apple quaking in their boots? Is this something you’d be interested in subscribing to? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: Music Business Worldwide