Amazon Music introduced its high-definition listening tier last fall, and the service already has about 5 million songs in Ultra HD, the highest available digital streaming quality. Now, Amazon Music HD is further widening its catalog, thanks to new partnerships with Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group.
In a deal announced Friday (Oct. 2), Amazon Music will exclusively remaster “thousands” of songs and albums from the two label groups in Ultra HD. That includes Kid Cudi’s Man On The Moon: The End of Day, Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged in New York, Lady Gaga’s Joanne, Ariana Grande’s Yours Truly and 2 Chainz’ The Play Don’t Care who Makes It. Additionally, Amazon Music has remixed songs from artists like Eagles, Elton John, Linkin Park, Tom Petty, Grande, Gaga, Post Malone and more in 3D Audio formats, including Dolby Atmos and Sony 360RA.
“We launched Amazon Music HD last year with a promise to always offer our customers the best quality recording available for streaming,” said Amazon Music vice president Steve Boom. “With this partnership, we are building upon that promise by upgrading existing recordings to make the listening experience even better, and preserving artistic legacy for future generations.”
Amazon Music HD is available at $12.99 per month for Prime members, $14.99 per month for non-Prime customers or an additional $5 per month for current Amazon Music subscribers. Outside of the U.S., it is also available in the U.K,, Germany and Japan. The push to expand Amazon Music’s catalog of HD and 3D audio isn’t only to grow streaming subscribers, but also attract — and support — its smart speaker customers. Amazon’s $199 Echo Studio speaker incorporates Dolby Atmos technology and also supports HD and UltraHD audio formats, and its multidimensional audio experience has received widely positive reviews as Amazon’s best-sounding speaker at a price that’s still affordable for many consumers. But the proposition of buying the hardware and the HD streaming subscription — both of which are at higher price points than competing, lower-definition products — only works if there is an adequate library of music to enjoy.
Boom added that Amazon Music will continue working with more labels to upgrade the digital quality of audio recordings, “and provide customers with all of the emotion, power, clarity, and nuance of original recordings across all genres.”
“Amazon Music continues to push the boundaries in sound fidelity and innovation, and we’re thrilled to partner with them to accelerate the availability of our catalog in the highest quality formats possible and to provide new experiences in immersive audio,” said Universal Music Group executive vp of digital strategy Michael Nash. “Our announcement today is the next big step in an ongoing partnership and music fans on Amazon Music HD can look forward to incredible new ways to experience the latest releases, as well as their favorite songs from Universal Music Group and our labels.”
In January, Amazon Music announced that it had reached 55 million customers worldwide, although it does not specify how many subscribers are signed up to HD.
“We’re always excited about new opportunities for fans to experience music in the highest sound quality available, exactly as the artist intended,” added Warner Music Group president of global catalog and recorded music Kevin Gore. “With Amazon Music HD, 3D Audio, and with the Echo Studio, music lovers are now able to immerse themselves in the original recordings at an unprecedented level of fidelity for a price that had previously been out of range.”