Faced with new competition from Apple, Amazon announced today that it will no longer charge an additional fee for Amazon Music’s “HD” layer that allows customers to stream audio at CD quality and above. Lossless audio is now available to all Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers at no additional cost. Billboard was the first to report the development.
This makes Amazon the first company to offer lossless music at the industry’s standard $ 9.99 subscription rate. Amazon Music Unlimited is even cheaper ($ 7.99 per month) for Prime customers. And yes, the high-quality audio is now also available to customers paying that price. Family subscriptions are eligible for Amazon Music HD at no additional cost, but student subscriptions are exempt. Before Amazon came into the picture, the going rate for a lossless music subscription was $ 19.99; that’s what Tidal keeps charging.
What makes this change possible? Well, like Billboard points out that with all the music streaming heavyweights now turning to lossless audio, music labels are more concerned with pushing subscribers to these services than the higher subscription premiums they previously demanded for High-Resolution Audio.
The price drop for Amazon Music HD comes on the same day Apple announced the launch of lossless audio on Apple Music. Apple teased major news last weekend after rumors circulated about the possibility late last week. The company’s Apple Music Android app dropped the details a little early, indicating that an announcement could be imminent.
Amazon Music HD is a strong performer for Amazon. A previous Billboard report said service is up 100 percent year over year. The service offers over 70 million CD quality songs, of which over 7 million are available in “ultra HD” quality.