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Amazon Music HD streaming service changes Earth forever, Neil Young enthuses

The veteran singer-songwriter says the world "will be changed forever" with Amazon's hi-res music streaming service, which features over 50 million tracks.

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Amazon/Screenshot by Ty Pendlebury/CNET

Amazon is taking on Tidal with a better-than-CD-quality audio streaming plan called Amazon Music HD, which starts at $12.99 a month.

Part of Amazon Music, the new HD catalog offers over 50 million tracks in either CD or 24-bit quality, which, unlike Tidal's MQA format, don't need a special decoder to listen to in hi-res.

Streaming services such as SpotifyApple Music and Google Play Music are only able to offer compressed files. Amazon is one of only a handful of companies that offer high-quality FLAC streams. Desktop users will need to download Amazon's software to listen in HD.

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Neil Young's PonoPlayer.

Screenshot by Lori Grunin/CNET

Musician Neil Young launched the ill-fated hi-res Pono player several years ago, but he is excited (probably a little too excited tbh) that Amazon is embracing lossless audio.

"Earth will be changed forever when Amazon introduces high quality streaming to the masses," Young said in a statement. "This will be the biggest thing to happen in music since the introduction of digital audio 40 years ago."

The service costs $12.99 (£12.99) a month for Prime members and $14.99 (£14.99) a month for regular Amazon customers, or an additional $5 a month for current subscribers. Current memberships start at $7.99 a month. It's not yet offered in Australia.

In comparison, Tidal charges $19.99 a month for its lossless plan while newcomer Qobuz charges $25 a month for 24-bit streams.

Amazon is currently offering 90-day free trials of Music HD, which includes Family memberships.

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