TECH BYTE: Apple, Amazon Give Music Customers Big Upgrade

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Both Apple and Amazon are giving their music customers a sweet upgrade.

The audio they stream will now be HD quality.

Amazon recently announced that its music subscribers can now upgrade to the highest quality streaming audio available for free.

That move came after Apple said it will bring Lossless Audio to its entire music catalog next month. It’s also free for subscribers.

Music producer and audio engineer Andrew Preavett says Lossless Audio is not compressed, unlike most streaming services. Think HD, but for audio.

“If you’re looking at a picture in low res[olution] versus high res[olution], you can see more of the detail in it,” Preavett said. “So Lossless Audio, you’ll be able to hear more of the detail and the sound, versus something that’s super compressed and low quality.”

And who wouldn’t want that, right? It’s as close to the artist’s original recording as you can get.

With Apple’s and Amazon’s upgrades, you hear more details in the music. You might even catch a part in your favorite song you haven’t heard before!

Apple’s improvements also include Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos. It’s basically surround sound 3D audio.

“Watch a movie in Dolby Atmos, you have your front speakers, you have speakers on the sides, it’s very directional, it can fly sounds above you, in front of you, behind you, and all kinds of stuff like that, but now you can do that while listening to music,” he said.

If you were listening to a CD, it would just be coming out of a left and right speaker.

“Dolby Atmos is very directional, so you can put a piece of dialogue in a certain speaker instead of all of the dialogue coming out of one direction,” Preavett said.

As for Amazon, all of its Music Unlimited subscribers now have free access to HD, Ultra HD, and 3D Audio, which also includes songs mixed in Dolby Atmos.

Preavett sees other streaming services following Apple and Amazon’s lead.

He says these changes are exciting – especially for music producers.

“We can start mixing a lot more in Atmos, and be more accessible to normal everyday listeners,” he said.

Again, Apple’s upgrades aren’t available until next month.

To start listening to Lossless Audio, you need to be using the latest version of Apple Music.

You can turn it on in Settings > Music > Audio Quality.

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