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HD-STREAMING PRICE WAR BREAKS OUT

In a video tease that appeared on its splash page Sunday, Apple Music alerted fans: “Get ready—music is about to change forever.” On Monday morning, Apple confirmed widespread speculation that it would be launching a new hi-fi streaming tier in its proprietary lossless format.

Apple’s big reveal closely followed a surprise announcement from Amazon Music, which said it will drop the cost of its hi-fi service from $14.99 to $9.99 for Apple Music Unlimited subscribers, matching Apple Music's figure.

Apple Music then upped the ante by announcing that it will also launch spatial audio for music in conjunction with Dolby Atmos, which will enable artists to record music in surround-sound. Spatial audio became available on iOS devices for TV and films in 2020.

“Apple Music is making its biggest advancement ever in sound quality,” VP of Apple Music and Beats Oliver Schusser said in a statement. “Listening to a song in Dolby Atmos is like magic. The music comes from all around you and sounds incredible. Now we are bringing this truly innovative and immersive experience to our listeners with music from their favorite artists including J Balvin, Gustavo Dudamel, Ariana Grande, Maroon 5, Kacey Musgraves, The Weeknd and so many more. Subscribers will also be able to listen to their music in the highest audio quality with lossless audio. Apple Music as we know it is about to change forever.”

Spotify has already promised to roll out its own HD-streaming plan later this year, while Tidal, now owned by Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, has offered high-fidelity streaming since inception.

Game on.

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