LG Jumps on the HD Audio Bandwagon With New Mobile Music Service

LG is getting ready to embrace high-definition audio: The company will make HD music downloads available in close to 70 countries, offering owners of some of its handsets free and price-reduced downloads via its SmartWorld app.

Songs will be made available in 24bit/192kHz, and LG promised Thursday that “qualifying customers” will receive two downloads each month for free, with the ability to purchase additional songs for 50% off the regular price. The company’s G4, G3, G2 and G Flex 2 phones can play HD downloads, and it doesn’t sound like LG has any plans to add HD streaming to its devices any time soon.

HD audio, which is supposed to sound better than your typical iTunes download, has become a bit of a battleground for music services looking to differentiate themselves from Spotify, Apple Music and Apple’s iTunes download store. Paris-based Spotify competitor Deezer is offering HD streaming to select customers, and Jay Z’s Tidal music service also offers an HD tier to consumers willing to pay more for better sound quality.

However, not everyone is on board with HD streaming: Rock legend Neil Young, whose company Pono is operating its own HD download service, removed most of his music from streaming services last month. Young blamed the audio quality of music streaming services for his decision, arguing that streaming represented “the worst quality in the history of broadcasting or any other form of distribution.”

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