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• The New York Times reports that Amazon has introduced “ new subscription level of its streaming music service, offering millions of songs at high resolution — the first time a major streaming outlet has delved into a market long considered an audiophile niche.

“Even the price of the new subscription tier, Amazon Music HD, is a statement. It costs $15 a month, or $13 for members of Amazon’s Prime program — less than the $20 to $25 a month that is the norm from smaller outlets like Tidal, Deezer and Qobuz … Amazon HD customers have access to some 50 million songs in what the company calls HD audio, or the equivalent of CD quality — 16-bit files with sampling rates of 44.1 kilohertz. A subset of ‘millions’ of those songs … are available at the “Ultra HD” level — up to 24-bit and 192 kHz, the highest resolution files that record companies typically produce.”

The Times story notes that “the need for improved audio quality has been a frequent complaint since the early days of the MP3, in the 1990s — or even earlier, for those, like Neil Young, who argue that CDs were a step down from vinyl records.

“Even Mr. Young endorsed Amazon’s move. ‘This will be the biggest thing to happen to music since the introduction of digital audio 40 years ago,’ he said.”
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