Amazon is prepping a high-fidelity music streaming service for a launch by year-end, according to a report from Music Business Worldwide — a site which also accurately reported Amazon’s recent launch of the free, ad-supported Amazon Music service for Echo device owners. As for the high-fidelity service, the plan is to charge around $15 per month for this “better than CD quality” offering — which could present a direct challenge to TIDAL.
It seems Amazon wants to cover the market both at the low-end and the high, by offering direct competitors to services like Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music and, now, TIDAL.
The company’s investment in music not only allows for new revenue streams through advertising and subscriptions, it also provides a direct connection to Amazon’s smart speakers: its Echo line of devices. For consumers pinching pennies, the ad-supported service streaming over an Echo Dot may be good enough. But those who bought, say, a stereo pair of Echo Plus devices and an Echo Sub, may want a better-quality music subscription, too.
Currently, those audiophiles may have sought something like TIDAL. The service’s Hi-Fi tier is $19.99 per month for CD-quality streams at 44.1 kHz / 16 bit. TIDAL also offers a Masters quality tier at 96 kHz / 24 bit. Deezer, meanwhile, streams 16-bit FLAC files.
It’s unclear where Amazon’s high-fidelity service will fit in, as the bit rate isn’t known.
However, discussions are still in the early stages, the report notes — only one major record company is on board so far.
If Amazon proceeds to launch this high-fidelity service, it will have price points and feature sets that span the music-streaming market from free to paid to premium. That will help the company retain customers who may have otherwise jumped to a competitor for a differentiated offering. As a further incentive, Amazon could also choose to offer deals and discounts to its premium offering to those buying its smart speakers or subscribing to Prime — much as it does today with its $3.99 / month Amazon Music Unlimited plan tied to a single Echo device.