Since its launch in 2007 in Europe, where it is promoted as a streaming and download service "for true music connoisseurs" looking for the highest possible quality, US audiophiles have been eagerly awaiting Qobuz’s arrival stateside.
"Qobuz is poised to capitalize on the modern developments making high quality audio available to a fast-widening audience looking for a higher-level listening experience. Improvements in bandwidth speed and Internet infrastructure and the introduction of affordable speakers and audio equipment represent an accessibility tipping point in the growing high-end audio market," the company states.
Qobuz is now available on all app stores, allowing for hi-res music streaming in FLAC (lossless) format, up to 24-bit/192 kHz with compatible gear. The subscription tiers include the option to both stream and offline download an unlimited amount of music on all devices - including both mobile and desktop. A parallel Hi-Res download store with files for purchase allows for additional options that the service underlines "flow substantial revenues back to creators," given that premium pricing for Hi-Res masters is a growth area for record labels.
As another differentiator, Qobuz says it offers exclusive, curated, and in-depth editorial content, with deep metadata, complete digital booklets, interactive articles, reviews, and playlists in-app on every platform. Library spans all genres, including specialist areas like jazz and classical, all available with a unique dynamic interface that allows user-selected genre focus and where Qobuz' experts highlight music of interest based on user choices. For those users already using Roon, full Roon version 1.6 integration is also available.
"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," Denis Thébaud, owner and chairmain of Qobuz states.
Dan Mackta, Managing Director of Qobuz USA, added “I’m thrilled to be introducing Qobuz to the US, and I look forward to working with the music community to spread the word about streaming without sacrifice. It’s all about the quality!”
Available pricing plans are as follows:
Sublime+: $299.99/year for full Hi-Res streaming and substantial (40-60%) discounts on purchases from the Qobuz Hi-Res (up to 24-bit / 192 kHz) download store.
Studio: $24.99/month for unlimited Hi-Res (24-bit /up to 192 kHz) streaming ($249.99 annually).
Hi-Fi: $19.99/month for streaming including 16-bit CD quality streaming ($199.99 annually).
Premium: $9.99/month for 320 kbps MP3 quality streaming ($99.99 annually).
Founded in 2007, Qobuz is a Paris-based commercial online music streaming and downloading service, live in eleven European markets and now the US. audioXpress beta-tested the service, and features an in-depth review of Qobuz in its April 2019 edition.