Apple Music sets date for Lossless Audio, Amazon Music reacts by slashing HD fees
After weeks of speculation, Apple Music confirmed that it bringing lossless audio to its entire 75 million-strong catalogue in June – and it will be at no additional cost.
It will be part of its regular subscription ($11.99 in Australia) and family plan ($17.99).
This means Apple will beat Spotify to HD audio, which could cost the latter global market share.
It was expected that this offer as part of a subscription would see a response down the track from other streaming services like Amazon Music, TIDAL and Deezer, which charge double.
But Amazon Music responded immediately, now offering Amazon Music HD to all eligible Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers at no extra cost.
Apple Music is also bringing “industry-leading sound quality” to subscribers with Spatial Audio with support for Dolby Atmos.
Spatial Audio gives artists the opportunity to create immersive audio experiences for their fans with multidimensional sound and clarity.
“Apple Music as we know it is about to change forever,” said Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats.
“Apple Music is making its biggest advancement ever in sound quality,” he added.
“Listening to a song in Dolby Atmos is like magic. The music comes from all around you and sounds incredible.”
By default, Apple Music will automatically play Dolby Atmos tracks on all AirPods and Beats headphones with an H1 or W1 chip, as well as the built-in speakers in the latest versions of iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
Apple Music will be adding new Dolby Atmos tracks constantly and will curate a set of Dolby Atmos playlists.
“Since recording began, artists, producers, and engineers have tried to paint pictures with sound, transporting listeners to worlds they never knew existed, even when the sound came from a single speaker,” according to GRAMMY-winning producer, songwriter, and composer Giles Martin.
“Now with the dawn of immersive audio, we can take the music lover inside the music.
“From the feeling of hearing your favourite artist in the same room as you, to the experience of sitting directly in the middle of a symphony orchestra, the listening experience is transformative and the possibilities for the creator are endless.
“This is a quantum leap in technology.”
Amazon Music, which launched its HD in 2019, found that subscriptions grew 100% year over year as of March, that those upgrading to HD streamed an average of 11% more, and the hip-hop and rock genres’ global market shares are 20% higher on HD than on Unlimited.
The ensuing HD price war is going to have wider repercussions.
HD tiers were expected to increase average revenue per user (ARPU), but in the early days it’s more likely to be a price war. Spotify has faced declining ARPU since 2017.