Apple and Amazon are giving subscribers free access to CD-quality music

Apple and Amazon both announced on Monday they’re offering millions of perfect-quality songs to subscribers at no additional charge. 

The two music streaming platforms will not make users pay more for ‘lossless songs’ that have exactly the same sound quality as when they were recorded in the studio. 

Apple Music will add some 20 million ‘lossless’ tracks in June, the company said Monday, with 75 million available by the end of the year. 

At the same time, Amazon announced it will no longer charge extra for its lossless-quality Amazon Music HD service. 

Subscribers to either service can stream lossless music for just $9.99, the same price as a standard Spotify account.  

Spotify is still playing catch-up with high-def sound: Its lossless streaming tier, HiFi, won’t debut until later this year, and then only in ‘select markets.’ 

As a result of Amazon and Apple’s announcements, Spotify stock dropped nearly 3 percent this morning before rebounding to previous levels. 

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Starting in June, Apple Music will offer subscribers CD-quality lossless audio for no additional charge. Apple promises 75 million lossless songs by year's end

Starting in June, Apple Music will offer subscribers CD-quality lossless audio for no additional charge. Apple promises 75 million lossless songs by year's end

Starting in June, Apple Music will offer subscribers CD-quality lossless audio for no additional charge. Apple promises 75 million lossless songs by year’s end

In a release, Apple said Apple Music’s lossless tier will start at CD quality, which is 16 bit at 44.1 kHz, and go up to 24 bit at 48 kHz.

Hi-resolution lossless quality is also available at 24 bit at 192 kHz, but subscribers will need a digital-to-analog converter or other external component to experience it, according to The Verge.

In addition, Apple Music purchases won’t be available in lossless quality and subscribers won’t be able to upgrade owned tracks to lossless audio with the paid iTunes Match service.

To access lossless audio on Apple Music, subscribers need to load the most recent version of the app and go to the ‘Settings’ tab and select ‘Music’ and then ‘Audio Quality.’

Apple also unveiled Spatial Audio, an immersive multidimensional sound that makes songs fell like they're coming 'from all around and from above.' Available tracks—including releases from J Balvin and Ariana Grande—will be marked with a badge

Apple also unveiled Spatial Audio, an immersive multidimensional sound that makes songs fell like they're coming 'from all around and from above.' Available tracks—including releases from J Balvin and Ariana Grande—will be marked with a badge

Apple also unveiled Spatial Audio, an immersive multidimensional sound that makes songs fell like they’re coming ‘from all around and from above.’ Available tracks—including releases from J Balvin and Ariana Grande—will be marked with a badge

You can then select a resolution for WiFi or cellular connection, or download the song direction.

Apple also today unveiled Spatial Audio, which uses Dolby Atmos technology to envelop listeners in immersive multidimensional sound experience so the music feels like it comes ‘from all around and from above.’

Oliver Schusser, vice president of Apple Music and Beats, called Spatial Audio Apple Music’s ‘biggest advancement ever in sound quality.’

‘Listening to a song in Dolby Atmos is like magic,’ Schusser said. ‘The music comes from all around you and sounds incredible.’

Dolby Atmos tracks will play by default on all AirPods and Beats headphones with an H1 or W1 chip, as well as through the latest iPhone, iPad and Mac speakers.

Tracks available in Dolby Atmos—including releases from J Balvin, Ariana Grande, Maroon 5, Kacey Musgraves, and The Weeknd—will be marked with a badge.

Apple Music will also curate special Dolby Atmos playlists.

Amazon has announced it will stop charging Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers for its lossless-audio streaming tier, Amazon Music HD

Amazon has announced it will stop charging Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers for its lossless-audio streaming tier, Amazon Music HD

Amazon has announced it will stop charging Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers for its lossless-audio streaming tier, Amazon Music HD

‘I always want to be a step ahead and I think this is one of those steps,’ said ‘Mi Gente’ singer J Balvin. ‘Hearing myself and my music in Dolby Atmos for the first time, it was just crazy, it blew my mind, it’s indescribable.’

Not to be outdone, Amazon also announced Monday it will begin offering its lossless-audio streaming tier, Amazon Music HD, to Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers at no additional cost.

Launched in 2019, Amazon Music HD already offers some 70 million lossless-quality songs.

A subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited runs $9.99 a month, or $7.99 a month for Prime customers.

Apple Music is also $9.99 monthly, with lossless audio also available with $4.99 student memberships and $14.99 family plans, which include six memberships.

An individual Spotify Premium account costs $9.99, with a pair of subscriptions available under the Duo plan for $12.99, Family plans with six accounts for $15.99 and a student plan at $4.99.  

In February, the popular music streaming service revealed it would be launching its own lossless streaming tier, HiFi.

No date was given, only that it would be available ‘later this year’ for Premium subscribers in select markets.

 HiFi will offer music ‘in CD-quality, lossless audio format to your device and Spotify Connect-enabled speakers,’ the company said, ‘which means fans will be able to experience more depth and clarity while enjoying their favorite tracks.’

The company hasn’t announced pricing plans for HiFi or how many songs will be made available.

A High Fidelity (HiFi) subscription with Tidal costs $19.99 per month, though there is a $9.99 rate for students and $11.99 for first responders and members of the military.

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