Business News Deals Digital

7digital will be first to deliver new lower-file-size high quality audio files

By | Published on Friday 19 December 2014


7digital has announced an alliance with Meridian Audio which will see the digital music platform provider become the first to offer tracks in the audio firm’s super new high quality audio format MQA – or Master Quality Authenticated – which will be available for both downloading and streaming next year.

MQA is basically a competitor to other high quality digital audio formats like FLAC, except the promise is that it matches the quality of its competitors with file sizes more similar to compressed MP3s. If you want the technical explanation of how that’s achieved, I’d read this report on an event earlier this month where the new file format was unveiled.

Although high quality audio has always been a niche market in both the disk and download domain, some argue that that niche could be significantly larger in the streaming space, given that receiving content in the higher quality format will require less effort on the consumer’s part – basically press this button and get the higher quality streams. And if things like MQA reduce the bandwidth and storage (for offline listening) implications, then it could take off. Services like WiMP/Tidal and Deezer are already dabbling in this space, charging a considerable premium on subscriptions for the higher quality sound.

Confirming his firm’s alliance with Meridian on MQA, 7digital boss Simon Cole told reporters: “MQA is a revolutionary new development in the journey towards serving consumers the purest high resolution digital files. MQA, which will be available in early 2015, delivers the quality of original studio recordings so cleverly and efficiently that it can be conveniently streamed or downloaded”.

He went on: “For decades Meridian Audio has been at the forefront of audio innovation. We feel extremely privileged to have been involved so closely with the Meridian team right through the research and development stage, lending our own considerable and longstanding experience in high quality digital music services to the process. I truly believe MQA will become the standard for high quality streaming in the years to come”.

Meanwhile Meridian Audio co-founder Bob Stuart added: “MQA is an important development that transforms music listening. MQA brings the listener every nuance and detail and the excitement of the live performance sound. Authenticity is not compromised for convenience. 7digital’s commitment to excellence and to sound quality makes them a natural partner for MQA. Their team have been untiring supporters of this revolution and we are excited about the launch of this platform”.