Some of the biggest names in music are set to have their music released in the high resolution MQA format. Universal Music Group has signed a multi-year deal with MQA, which will see artists including Adele, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift all using the new format.
MQA is an audio format that promises to deliver high resolution audio streaming to consumers around the world. The company has already invested extensively in getting its message across to consumers, with a marketing campaign called ‘Stream the Studio’ having launched at CES 2017. The format was still lacking industry-wide support, however.
Through its deal with Universal Media Group, the world’s largest record label, the format has received its biggest vote of confidence yet. Universal Music Group controls 29.85% of the recording industry, while Sony Music Entertainment closely follows with 29.29% marketshare. Sony has yet to commit to the MQA format – despite reaffirming its passion for high resolution music back at CES 2017.
Through its deal with MQA, Universal Music Group artists will have their music released in the high resolution MQA format. This includes the likes of Taylor Swift, Mariah Carey, Kanye West, Lady Gaga, Adele, Jay-Z, Avicii, Lana Del Rey, Lorde, Madonna, One Direction, Katy Perry, Robbie Williams, Shawn Mendes, and U2, just to name a few.
The MQA format should bring consumers closer to the original recording, although in order to experience that, they will need to invest in hardware that supports it. Currently several manufacturers have committed to the platform, including Meridian Audio, Pioneer, Onkyo, Audioquest, and Bluesound, meaning consumers have plenty of choice.
It’s not just about the hardware, however. The biggest names in music streaming, including Spotify and Apple Music, have yet to add high resolution audio support of any kind. That means those looking for close-to-studio-quality music will have to look elsewhere. Conveniently, Tidal became one of the first mainstream music streaming services to support the MQA format at CES 2017. Tidal is not alone in its support of MQA. 7Digital, Onkyo Music and the Kripton HQM store are just a few others that offer access to the high-resolution music format.
Commenting on the partnership, Mike Jbara, CEO of MQA, said: “We’re very pleased to be working with Universal Music to achieve our goal of moving studio-quality sound into the mainstream. Universal’s timeless catalogue and impressive artist roster will fuel music streaming services worldwide and enable the premium listening experience for all music fans.”
Michael Nash, executive vice president of digital strategy at Universal Media Group, added: “The promise of Hi-Res Audio streaming is becoming a reality, with one service already in the market and several more committed to launching this year. With MQA, we are working with a partner whose technology is among the best solutions for streaming Hi-Res Audio, and one that doesn’t ask music fans to compromise on sound quality for convenience. We’re looking forward to working with Mike and his team at MQA to make our industry-leading roster of artists and recordings available to music fans in the highest quality possible.”