“All the constraints that led us to have music in [a compressed] format are gone”. That’s according to Paul Firth, head of Amazon Music Europe.
Firth was talking during a discussion with Miriam Daniel, vice president of Amazon Devices and Steve Boom, vice president of Amazon Music globally at the UK demo of the new Echo Studio speaker alongside Amazon Music HD.
“We’re at a juncture where we don’t have to trade off convenience or quality. With our Music HD service, we really wanted to make it accessible for everybody,” added the aptly-named Boom.
“There’s a whole generation of people that will have only heard music in a compressed, lossy way. We know that people who hear it in [this] form can’t believe it.
Amazon launched its Amazon Music HD service recently and has made around 50 million tracks available at CD quality (16 bits, sample rate of 44.1kHz), with so-called Ultra HD lossless tracks in the ‘millions’ - boasting a Spotify and Apple Music-beating bit depth of 24 bits and a sample rate up to 192 kHz. “We will offer you the best quality available. If the artist has made it available in a master format, you will get that.”
Boom also talked about how the launch of Amazon Music HD has attracted a rather high-profile fan, known for his love of high-quality streaming. “We launched this service, five weeks ago [but] the service leaked a few months before. This time we managed to turn lemons to lemonade because Neil Young heard about it and he phoned us and I met with him. His passion is incredible. For him, what he tried to do [with the ill-fated Pono player and service] failed in the marketplace.
“When he found about that one of the big three global streaming services was going to put a flag in the sand and say ‘this is how people should hear music’, he was over the moon”
“We know that quality is something consumers care about. All the constraints that made us have music in a [compressed] format are gone. We want to be as transparent as possible to ensure that people see what they’re listening to and understand it.”
A continual theme during the event was talking about the impressive price point for the device. Miriam Daniel, vice president of Amazon Devices said that her team had really tried to cut down on complication and cost with the Echo Studio.
“For a premium setup, you’ve had to buy several speakers…to get that quality. We wanted to bring it in a form factor that’s affordable to everyone, not just those that are wanting to spend thousands of dollars on multiple speakers.
You can read our initial thoughts on the new speaker and we’ll replace them with a full review in the coming weeks.