Hi-Res music streaming service Qobuz launches in the US

Qobuz US MD Dan Mackta has said that France-born, Hi-Res streaming service aims to be “the premium gasoline of music services”, as it launches in the US today (February 14).

Described as a hybrid “streaming service and download store”, Qobuz has a catolog of 40 million CD-quality (16-bit) tracks, and ‘millions’ of Hi-Res (24-bit/ 192 kHz) tracks.

Mackta, who is based in New York, was formerly co-head of marketing for Razor & Tie Recordings and joined Qobuz in July last year.

Mackta has told MBW that Qobuz, which has been available in Europe since 2007, is “really not trying to compete with the mainstream streaming services”, and is aiming to cater to the “top end of the market” instead.

The service currently has over 100,000 active customers according to Mackta, with the most active markets being France, Germany and the UK.

Paid “a la carte downloads” make up around 30% of Qobuz revenues in Europe.

“In the audiophile world, the demand for downloads is still strong, and as long as our hardware partners make this gear, and our retail partners sell it, we will continue to provide the content,” said Mackta.

Qobuz has come a long way over the last few years, having fallen into receivership in 2015, before being rescued by Xandrie SA, which committed to invest €5m in technical improvements and €7m in marketing as part of the takeover.

Last year, after Spotify’s successful NYSE debut, Qobuz said that it would begin considering its own IPO, but Mackta has told MBW that this is currently “not planned for this year”.

“The US has the most mature market outside the Nordics. But there is still an enormous amount of growth happening for at least another few years.”

Dan Mackta

Qobuz offers various pricing plans which range from $9.99/month to $24.99/month, with it’s Sublime+ tier costing $299.99/year for full Hi-Res streaming and 40-60% discounts on purchases from the Qobuz Hi-Res download store.

Mackta added: “Audiophiles have been crying out for this kind of service in the US for several years.

“There are other platforms that do some of what we do, but we are trying to be the best Qobuz we can be and find our people, who may not even be doing any music streaming yet. ”

“The US has the most mature market outside the Nordics. But there is still an enormous amount of growth happening for at least another few years. And increasingly stratified consumer choices in hardware and content providers.

“There is an explosion in mobile hi-fi listening hardware including headphones. There is no service that caters to the top end of the market like we do.”

“I am very proud of our United States launch. Our teams have been working brilliantly for over a year with our recording and publishing partners to get to this point.”

Denis Thébaud, Qobuz

Owner and chairmain of Qobuz, Denis Thébaud, said “I am very proud of our United States launch. Our teams have been working brilliantly for over a year with our recording and publishing partners to get to this point.

“I am convinced that what we have to offer, on both the streaming and download markets, will be a success amongst American music lovers.”Music Business Worldwide

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