Amazon plots ‘better than CD’ streaming to take down Apple and Spotify

Amazon is plotting a ‘better than CD quality’ music streaming service to turn up the heat on rivals Apple and Spotify, according to a new report. After launching a free streaming service for Amazon Echo owners last week, Amazon is now prepping the premium tier, aimed at audiophiles.

The report from Music Business Worldwide says the service will cost around $15 a month when it launches before the end of 2019. The report doesn’t mention the precise bit rate of the streams, but the lossless streams are likely to be around, or higher than, the Tidal Hi-Fi offering of 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.

“It’s a better bit rate, better than CD quality,” one source said. “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.”

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Neither Amazon nor Spotify offer a hi-res audio subscription yet, while Tidal charges $20 a month for its offering. So Amazon could be spying an opportunity to become a major force in the music streaming industry.

The company currently offers the ad-funded music for Alexa speaker owners, a selection of music comes free for Prime subscribers, while Music Unlimited costs everyone a little extra.

Another industry source told the publication: “Think about it: Amazon will have every tier of recorded music covered, from free streaming through to limited catalog via Prime, a full ‘Spotify rival’ in Music Unlimited and a hi-definition service – in addition to vinyl, CD, merch and more. We haven’t seen anything near what they’re capable of in music yet.

“With Amazon making this move, it feels like a positive step for consumer pricing flexibility, and good news for streaming ARPU generally. Spotify has just been outmaneuvered.”

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