Apple Music will bring higher quality music to its consumers, for free. Rather than charge extra for an ‘HD’ or High-Fidelity (HiFi) tier like its competitors, Apple Music’s lossless audio feature will be available to subscribers from June – for no added cost.
Amazon Music‘s reaction was instantaneous. The web giant announced that its Amazon Music HD package will be available to its standard Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers at no extra cost. Current HD subscribers will now pay the price same subscription fees as its Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers.
It is exciting because it brings higher quality streams to over 100 million music subscribers (Apple Music’s [60 million, June 2019], Amazon Music’s [55 million, January 2020]) for free, bursting out of its previously-niche status.
This is also concerning as higher-quality music has always been seen as a way to get more the standard $9.99/month subscription fees from subscribers. This strategy was employed by Amazon, Deezer, Tidal, and other services, with the backing of music rightsholders.
Spotify, which already announced plans to launch its Spotify HiFi bouquet later this 2021, would have something to chew on regarding the plan to exploit its subscribers with higher subscription fees for this option.
Amazon Music claims to have a catalogue of more than 75m lossless songs, 7m in higher ‘Ultra HD’ quality. It also supports Dolby Atmos and Sony’s 360RA format for proper 3D listening experiences.
Apple Music will have a catalogue of 75m songs in lossless audio and is also teaming up with Dolby to use its Dolby Atmos technology for ‘Spatial Audio’ tracks, which will be marked on the service, and curated in specific playlists too.
This should be the new strategy moving forward for Digital Streaming Platforms and Music rights holders to make more revenue. It’s easier to get already existing subscribers to pay an extra dollar or two a month for High-Fidelity Streaming than to get more people to pay an extra five dollars a month for the same feature. Consolidating this feature with existing standard fees should justify raising the standard fees by a dollar or two every month.