When it comes to music streaming services, it’s no longer just about the size of the music catalog on offer but also about the quality of the music. And by quality, I’m referring to the compression format used as streaming services are moving away from using low-quality mp3 formats and are now starting to offer lossless-quality music in an attempt to appeal to true audiophiles who can tell the difference between every different note in the song.
We’ve seen Spotify and Amazon launch lossless services of their own, and now Apple has announced (as reported in The Verge) that they will also be joining the party in June. Unlike the other services, Apple is not intending to charge extra for this service but rather just allow those people with fast internet and unlimited data plans to select it as the default option.
Even though the format is called lossless, there are still different levels of quality available, with Apple Music’s audio starting at a CD-quality of 16 bit at 44.1 kHz, and going up to a superior 24 bit at 48 kHz natively on Apple devices. It tops out at 24 bit at 192 kHz, though for the latter, subscribers will need equipment like a DAC to enjoy it. Apple is also including Spatial audio and Dolby Atmos audio, which should really appeal to people with high-end headphones and a love for listening to music at its purest.
It is quite an operation to make catalogs of music available at such a high quality, but the company has lofty goals of having 75 million lossless audio songs by the end of the year, with plans to have 20 million available when it launches.
With Apple on of the largest music services and now offering lossless audio for users it’s great for the industry. And perhaps the best thing that competition does is bring the best out of its competitors with Amazon announcing that they are also now going to be offering lossless quality audio for no extra costs to regular subscribers. There is no word yet on what will come of Spotify’s HiFi tier option, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they also consider ways of exploring a cheaper fee structure to compete with Apple.
Last Updated: May 19, 2021