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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.

Ty Pendlebury Editor
Ty Pendlebury is a journalism graduate of RMIT Melbourne, and has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
Expertise Ty has worked for radio, print, and online publications, and has been writing about home entertainment since 2004. He majored in Cinema Studies when studying at RMIT. He is an avid record collector and streaming music enthusiast. Credentials
  • Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.
Ty Pendlebury
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 Spotify Apple 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.


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.

Watch this: Amazon expands into subscription music...and meat?