The on-demand music streaming service battle is officially under way. Listeners in the U.S. already have access to Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, and Beats Music, and starting September 15th, Deezer Elite will officially be available stateside.
Deezer is one of the most popular European streaming services, and the company is switching up its formula for the U.S. launch. Instead of the standard $9.99 price all other services charge per month, Deezer Elite will be $19.99 each month.
The extra cost is because the Elite service will stream music in 16-bit FLAC audio (or 1411kbps). The lossless, high-resolution, audio content contains a lot more sound information than both Rdio or Spotify’s 320kbps streaming music.
The other catch is that Deezer Elite will only be available through Sonos speakers. On launch, those interested can try the service for 30 days free.
Even though high-resolution audio has been around for a long time, it’s only recently surged in popularity. Neil Young first successfully crowdfunded his portable audio player earlier this year, called Pono, which focuses on sound quality. And more recently he also blew past his goal for crowdfunding equity in the music player company.
Geek Wave is another portable audio player–capable of playing high-quality music that iPods and other devices just can’t–which raised over $1 million. Its main draw was that it could play nearly any music format, and literally play the highest-quality formats, all while being portable.
Deezer’s strategy of launching to audiophiles in the U.S. is a bit unorthodox. But the high-end might just be where all the money in the music industry is hiding.