As you've heard from us before, high resolution audio sources are a must-have for getting the best fidelity from your GoldenEar system. So, here's some great news: The RIAA (Record Industry Association of America) is encompassing streamed high resolution music files under its already introduced Hi-Res Music logo (above). Streamed files will have to comply with the high-res music definition agreed upon by several music industry groups in 2014. The logo calls out downloads and streams that offer higher resolution files than Red Book CD standards (44.1kHz and 16-bit depth), with a minimum 48kHz sampling rate and 20-bit depth. The files must be sourced from studio masters meeting the same minimum standards. They can include analog masters that have been digitally re-mastered to the standard.
Several current music codecs (MQA, MPEG 4, Audio SLS, etc.) can support this quality of streaming. These are capable of creating efficient, relatively compact files that are practical for high-res streaming. Streaming sites will be able to display the logo while they're streaming high-res files. The logo will have to disappear with non-high-res files or a message will appear informing the listener that the current file isn't high-res. Should the stream drop below high-res standards due to network constraints the logo also must disappear.
Keep your ears "pealed" for high-res streaming from your favorite services, hopefully soon.
The following links will take you to streaming music provider review sites. Many services offer similar plans and features at similar prices. Industry consensus is that there will be a consolidation of these services in the near future. We'd suggest you take a little time and look through the reviews.
Two of the major decision making factors for most people are the size and content of the available library and the services' control interface. Some also provide cloud storage for your existing music files so you can access them from anywhere, which many people find a real benefit. Think about your needs and how you'll use the service as you read through the reviews. Also note that some services offer low cost or free trial periods that may be helpful.
(A UK site but a good source of information.)