With the $9.99/month subscription streaming model for music now firmly entrenched as the dominant revenue driver for the music industry, many of the major players are now looking to differentiation to keep the gravy train moving. Whether that has meant video for some, original content for others or additional services and bundles at lower price points for still others, there’s a clear opening for new and fresh ways of looking at the streaming ecosystem.
That’s just one of the reasons that Qobuz, the Paris-based, hi-res-first audio streaming company is finally moving ahead with its plans to launch in the United States. Beginning today (Feb. 14), the service’s streaming and download store is finally available Stateside, after more than a decade of availability in Europe. The service is available at four different price points: premium, $9.99/month ($99.99/year) mp3-quality streaming; Hi-Fi, $19.99/month ($199.99/year) 16-bit CD-quality streaming; studio, $24.99/month ($249.99/year) unlimited hi-res 24-bit streaming; and Sublime+, $299.99/year full hi-res 24-bit streaming packaged with 40-60 percent discounts on downloads in the Qobuz download store.
“Audiophiles have been awaiting Qobuz for years, and now we're able to reach a larger audience to let them know that better quality audio is available,” Dan Mackta, managing director Qobuz USA, tells Billboard in an email. “And bringing some competition into the sphere will be good for everyone -- listeners, labels (re: payouts), speaker companies, etc.”