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Who’s ready for an audio upgrade?

Don’t look now, dear fatigued music consumer, but likely coming soon to a music platform near you is a new hi-resolution audio technology that promises better fidelity than all the cold digitally compressed CDs and MP3 hokum the music biz sold us in the 90s and aughts.

This because MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) is becoming evermore widely embraced by the industry, including today (Feb. 16) by the world’s largest record company, Universal Music Group. The two companies jointly announced a “collaboration” with the new audio technology to advance the cause of hi-res on-demand streaming and whereby UMG has agreed to make a portion of its massive catalog of master recordings available in the hi-res audio format.

“We’re very pleased to be working with Universal Music to achieve our goal of moving studio-quality sound into the mainstream,” said the CEO of MQA Mike Jbara in a statement. “Universal’s timeless catalog and impressive artist roster will fuel music streaming services worldwide and enable the premium listening experience for all music fans.” Jbara is a longtime music industry vet who worked for twenty years at WMG before last July moving to MQA.

MQA is said to bring higher quality sound without sacrificing portability and ease of streaming. Over the last year increasingly more music businesses have joined the cause, including most recently all three major labels, the Recording Industry Association of America and music platforms such as Pandora, Napster and HD Tracks, in concert with the Digital Entertainment Group (DEG), who together at last month’s Consumer Electronics Show announced their support for MQA and a  “Stream the Studio” promotional campaign.

Last May, Atlantic Record Group CEO and co-chairman Craig Kallman came out in support of MQA and at the beginning of this year TIDAL debuted the audio format on its streaming platform.

“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,” stated UMG’s Michael Nash, evp of digital strategy. “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.”


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