Hi-res streaming service Quboz is officially ditching the MP3.
In a statement released Friday (Nov. 8), the company announced it will eliminate its MP3 (lossy) streaming tier, making it the first streaming service to stop offering music in the format. Qobuz will now offer just one $14.99 monthly (or $149.99 yearly) “Studio Premier” plan that includes unlimited access to its entire Hi-Res and CD “lossless” catalog and exclusive editorial and metadata content. Notably, the plan is a limited-time promotion available to the first 100,000 new Qobuz subscribers and existing users who sign up.
The service notes it will continue to offer its Sublime+ plan at $249.99/year, which includes all streaming offerings along with discounts on hi-res download purchases from the Qobuz store.
“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,” said managing director, Qobuz USA Dan Mackta. “Studio Premier is a special offer we’ve been dying to make. 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!”
Added Neil Young, a long-time lossless audio advocate who started the short-lived hi-res digital media player and download service Pono: “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.”
Headquartered in Paris, Qobuz launched in the U.S. in February.
Though no other streaming services besides Qobuz have eliminated the MP3 format, a number of others offer premium audio tiers. Amazon entered the hi-res game in September with its Amazon Music HD, which offers over 50 million hi-res songs in both CD quality (“HD”) and “Ultra HD” format. Deezer and Tidal also offer lossless audio, while Spotify has tested the idea in the past. While not technically lossless, in August Apple Music launched Apple Digital Masters, a new initiative that combined all of its “Mastered for iTunes” tracks into one global catalog.