amazon hd music spatial audio

Amazon Music ditched the extra cost for its HD tier earlier this year, as an instant reaction to Apple Music’s move into hi-res audio. However, Amazon’s users still had to opt in to upgrade to HD. Now they don’t: as of yesterday, its spatial audio, HD and Ultra HD tracks will be available as the default for Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers.

The news came as Amazon also announced that its spatial audio catalogue will now play on a wider variety of devices “including iOS and Android devices, with their existing headphones – no special equipment required”.

There is a clear sense of a battle here between Amazon and Apple, while they await Spotify’s entry into hi-res streaming. Apple has been working hard to claim the concept of spatial audio in streaming, but now Amazon is trying to popularise it too. That’s good news for Dolby, whose Atmos format is being used by both services – although Amazon is also offering tracks in Sony’s 360 Reality Audio format.

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