High-res audio is coming to more streaming services

  • TECH
  • Monday, 09 Jan 2017

Major streaming sites, including Tidal and Pandora, announced support for high-res audio at the Consumer Electronic Show, suggesting that the technology is likely to take a big step into the streaming market. 

High-resolution audio recordings – a step up from high-fidelity, CD-quality sound – deliver the same quality as studio masters and have until now been available in just a limited number of music download stores. 

On streaming sites, the technology had yet to make its presence known. Tidal previously boasted its "lossless" high-fidelity offering, as does Deezer with its Deezer Elite subscription. Neil Young notably invested in high-fidelity technology with his download service and audio player Pono, which, he told Rolling Stone at the end of 2016, he now hopes to transform into a high-res streaming service. 

High-res technology now looks set to expand further into streaming, as the three major music labels – Universal, Sony and the Warner Music Group – announced their support for high-res audio this week, joined by representatives from streaming services Pandora, Napster/Rhapsody and HD Tracks who expressed interest in integrating it into their offers. 

Tidal, meanwhile, announced support this week for the high-res MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) technology, becoming the first streaming service to do so. Effective immediately, Tidal's premium subscribers will now benefit from master-quality audio in a growing number of recordings, notably the Warner Music Group catalogue – a significant improvement over the service's CD-quality audio. 

With these moves, a technology that was previously available to those in the industry and a small number of music fans is headed to the mainstream. 

"While not for everyone, Hi-Res music streaming has the potential to engage millions of digital music fans who are seeking a more immersive, studio quality listening experience," stated Chris Martin, chief technology officer of Pandora, in voicing his support for the technology. — AFP Relaxnews

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