Amazon has inked fresh partnerships with Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group to remaster thousands of songs and albums to Ultra HD streaming audio quality – and make them exclusively available on its Amazon Music HD service.
According to Amazon, Ultra HD offers “better than CD quality” audio, with a bit depth of 24 bits and a sample rate up to 192 kHz. Amazon Music HD already offers 5 million tracks in Ultra HD.
Now, thanks to its fresh deals with Universal and Warner, Amazon says a raft of additional tracks are joining this Ultra HD catalog, “revealing nuances that were once flattened in files compressed for digital streaming or CD manufacturing”.
Hundreds of full albums are being remastered for the format, including Kid Cudi’s Man On The Moon: The End of Day; Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged in New York; Waylon Jennings’ Don’t Think Twice; Diana Ross’ Diana & Marvin; B.B. King’s Lucille; Lady Gaga’s Joanne; Ariana Grande’s debut album, Yours Truly; 2 Chainz’ The Play Don’t Care who Makes It; J. Cole’s KOD; and Bob Marley and the Wailers’ Natty Dread.
Amazon says that all titles resulting from this Ultra HD music partnership will be delivered in 24 bit and 96 kHz or 192 kHz.
In addition, the new Universal and Warner partnership will see Amazon Music add to its catalog of over 60 million lossless High Definition songs (i.e. CD quality) as well as its growing catalog of tracks remixed in 3D Audio.
Amazon says that music from artists including Eagles, Elton John, Linkin Park, Tom Petty, Ariana Grande, Jon Pardi, Shawn Mendes, Lady Gaga, Lil Tecca, Selena Gomez, Post Malone and more has been remixed in 3D Audio formats including Dolby Atmos and Sony 360RA, “offering a truly immersive listening experience for customers”.
Listeners will be able to stream these 3D Audio mixes when listening through Amazon Music HD on Amazon’s high-fidelity smart speaker, Echo Studio, which launched late last year at a $199.99 price point.
“We launched Amazon Music HD last year with a promise to always offer our customers the best quality recording available for streaming,” said Steve Boom, VP of Amazon Music.
“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. We are thrilled to have the support from Universal Music and Warner Music to deliver key recordings from their catalogs, exclusively for Amazon Music customers.
“We’ll continue to work with more labels to upgrade the digital quality of even more audio recordings, and provide customers with all of the emotion, power, clarity, and nuance of original recordings across all genres.”
“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.”
Steve Boom, Amazon Music
Michael Nash, Executive Vice President of Digital Strategy at Universal Music Group, said: “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.
“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.”
“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.”
Michael Nash, UMG
Kevin Gore, President of Global Catalog, Recorded Music at Warner Music Group, said: “We’re always excited about new opportunities for fans to experience music in the highest sound quality available, exactly as the artist intended.
“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.
“Warner Music is proud to partner with Amazon Music on this initiative and will continue to deliver groundbreaking new music from the world’s greatest artists along with iconic albums and songs from our unparalleled catalog.”
“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.”
Kevin Gore, Warner Music Group
Albums including Tom Petty’s upcoming Wildflowers & All the Rest; Eagles Live From The Forum MMXVIII; Linkin Park’s 20th anniversary edition of Hybrid Theory; the Ramones’ eponymous debut album; Lady Gaga’s Chromatica; Post Malone’s Hollywood is Bleeding; and Selena Gomez’ Rare, will soon be available to stream in 3D Audio.
Gregory Porter’s newest album ALL RISE, available from Blue Note Records, was released August 28 in Ultra HD and 3D/Dolby Atmos exclusively on Amazon Music HD.
Amazon Music HD is currently available to stream in the US, UK, Germany, and Japan.
The service, at a higher audio resolution than the standard Amazon Music Unlimited tier, costs $12.99/month for Prime members and $14.99/month for Amazon customers.
Alternatively, Amazon Music HD costs an additional $5/month for existing Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers (Individual or Family Plan).
Obviously enough, there’s one major record company not involved in today’s announcement.
Sony last year announced its own next-gen audio format, 360 Reality Audio, in partnership with the likes of Deezer, TIDAL and Amazon Music itself.
It’s been a busy week for news on audio innovation on streaming services.
On Tuesday (September 29), MBW got hold of a patent filed by Spotify that suggests the service is planning a 3D Audio advertising tie-up, with promotional audio messages pushed to consumers as they pass restaurants, coffee shops etc.Music Business Worldwide