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Qobuz ditches MP3 streaming as it simplifies subscriptions in the US

By | Published on Monday 11 November 2019

Hi-res music streaming service Qobuz has streamlined its subscriptions for US users, doing away entirely with its lowest quality MP3 streaming option.

Launched in 2007, the French company arrived in the US earlier this year. To date it has offered three levels of quality to users – 320kbps MP3, 16-bit CD quality FLAC and studio quality 24-bit FLAC. It is now planning to do away with the MP3 option, offering only lossless audio.

At the same time it is consolidating its three subscription tiers into one, called Studio Premier. For $14.99 a month users in the US will get access to Qobuz’s full streaming catalogue at both remaining quality levels. It will also continue to offer its Sublime+ subscription, which provides the same, plus discounted Hi-Res downloads, for an upfront payment of $249 per year.

“MP3 is really bad for music, artists, and listeners – so Qobuz is saying ‘no’ to MP3 and now offers only real studio quality in one accessible plan”, says the company US MD Dan Mackta. “Studio Premier is a special offer we’ve been dying to make”.

He adds: “With the new plan, we will be pouring gasoline on the growth that has been kindled by our unique relationships in the premium audio hardware and retail industries. Our unequalled editorial and curation in specialist genres, and our focus on the culture around music and audio will continue to create value for listeners. Qobuz does all this because our users’ passion for music is worth it!”

Noted hi-res audio fan Neil Young chips in for good measure: “Qobuz sounds great! Qobuz was one of the earliest hi-res streamers. Their new offer is another big step towards making hi-res streaming available at the same cost as MP3 streaming today”.

Qobuz says that it hopes to make “hi-res and lossless the new standard” in music streaming. As yet, audio quality has not become the battle ground for the big streaming services that some thought it would – Spotify and Apple Music not offering higher quality options as yet, either to all users or at a higher price.

In the UK, Qobuz is still offering four tiers – MP3 at £9.99 per month, CD quality at £19.99 per month, 24-bit at £24.99 – as well as Sublime+ at £299 per year.