APPLE GOING HI-FI?

Apple will announce a new high-fidelity audio streaming tier in the coming weeks at the same $9.99-per-user price point as its standard plan, label sources are telling us.

The announcement is expected to coincide with the launch of the third-generation AirPods. Whether these will be compatible with the new, improved audio offering is unknown.

Speculation within the industry suggests Apple's move is to provide a more aggressively priced, higher-quality option after Spotify announced this week it was raising prices.

Spotify announced in February that it would start offering an HD tier but has yet to give a launch date. It currently offers streams at a maximum bit rate of 320kbps. Amazon launched Amazon Music HD in 2019 at $14.99 per month, or $5 more than a standard plan.

Labels and publishers are said to be taking a wait-and-see approach as to whether Apple’s move will increase total subscribers or merely convert existing users to the new platform.

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