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    Qobuz Tugs on Superman's Cape, Makes Bold Move With Industry's Best Pricing

    Today Qobuz dropped a bomb that nobody saw coming. The company lowered its lossless / high resolution streaming price to $12.50 /month (annually) or $14.99 /month monthly, and said "so long" to its MP3 service level. This new price is for what it calls the Studio Premier tier.  Qobuz, the world's best high quality streaming service, is now the least expensive. This is the beauty of a competitive market in which many companies are vying for consumers' hard earned money. I love it!

     

    There are some details to this new Qobuz Studio Premier pricing. According to the Qobuz website this is an offer that goes until January 31, 2020 for the first 100,000 customers. But, Some existing customers (HiFi and Studio Monthly subscribers) will automatically be switched to this new pricing. Yearly subscribers can renew for another year to get the pricing and receive either a discount or a refund depending on how much time is left in their subscription. 

     

    I really hope Qobuz keeps its prices at this level forever. 

     


    Perspective

     

    Amazon Music HD launched in September, 2019 at a price of $14.99 ($12.99 for Prime members) per month, while Tidal and Qobuz have held steady for years at $19.99 and $24.99 per month respectively. Amazon's HD launch has been terrific on many levels, and a nonstarter on others. It's wonderful to see the Seattle-based behemoth pushing higher quality music streaming at a scale only the biggest companies can, and for a price that was much lower than any of the competition. The product has been full of issues for people who actually want to play this high quality music on most devices, but the bigger picture here is that over 100 million people are exposed to better sounding music and the issues can be dealt with via software updates. 

     

    Shortly after Amazon's HD launch, many pundits signed death certificates for Qobuz and Tidal. In most cases when Amazon moves into one's territory, the end result isn't good for the little guys. However, it's great to see that Qobuz, a tiny French company that launched in the US on Valentine's Day, 2019, is not only competing with Amazon, it's putting out a better product for less money. David is beating Goliath on every single level (user interface, customer service, playback options, etc...).

     


    Bigger Picture

     

    Perhaps the best part about this Qobuz announcement is the fact that it isn't catering to a market of audiophiles who already consume as much high quality music as any service can deliver. The best part is that now high quality music is priced within spitting distance of the low quality diluted AAC, MP3 and OGG offerings of Spotify and Apple Music. Qobuz isn't under any illusions that it will put the giants out of business, but the company believes this is major step toward the democratization of high quality music. 

     

    There are absolutely zero guarantees in life or that this bold move will turn more of the masses onto higher quality music and possibly better sounding components, but one can be hopeful when a company lays the groundwork for it to happen. I believe this is best place to start when seeking a wider audience for HiFi as a whole. The manufacturers we are all familiar with can release products costing a fraction of the price of their normal products, but this is still more than many people will spend to take a chance on something better. When the price to take a chance on better sound is less than a single pot of tea per month, one doesn't have to wait until the 1st or 15th of the month to pull the trigger. 

     

    What I'm saying is that a healthier HiFi industry starts at the source with better quality music for a little bit more money than the low quality options. 

     

     


    Note: Streaming MP3 is still possible within the Qobuz apps, nice when using an expensive and limited mobile data plan, by setting the quality level within the apps. The only thing MP3 related that's going away is the option to select an MP3 only subscription. 

     

     

    Here's a link to the new Streaming options at Qobuz - https://www.qobuz.com/us-en/music/streaming/offers

     

    And, here are the details about the new pricing - https://try.qobuz.com/faq-studio-premier/

     

    "Studio Premier gives you unlimited access to over 50 million tracks in lossless quality or Hi-Res along with our exclusive, in-depth editorial content for $14.99/ month ($149.99/year). This limited time promotion is available to the first 100,000 new subscribers and existing users until January 31, 2020

     

    As part of our mission to make high-quality sound accessible to all, we have also updated our Sublime+ plan, to the new price of $249.99/year."



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    Is this for the US only, the European site has the same standard pricing as previous including the MP3 option?

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    I can't figure out how to sign up for Studio Premier.  I currently have an annual subscription to HiFi for $200 that expires in March 2020.

     

    How do I switch to Studio Premier for $150 per annum (less a discount equal to the remaining value of my current Hifi subscription)?

     

    Is this a response to Amazon or is there another service like Qobuz about to launch?

     

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    3 minutes ago, rickca said:

    I can't figure out how to sign up for Studio Premier.  I currently have an annual subscription to HiFi for $200 that expires in March 2020.

     

    How do I switch to Studio Premier for $150 per annum (less a discount equal to the remaining value of my current Hifi subscription)?

     

    Is this a response to Amazon or is there another service like Qobuz about to launch?

     

    Did you read this - https://try.qobuz.com/faq-studio-premier/

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    4 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    Yes, I read that.  I don't ask questions before I try to research something independently.

    If you click on Get Studio Premier at the bottom of that link, you don't get directed to a place where you can switch from your current plan to Studio Premier.

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    They had to keep up with Amazon. Too bad Qobuz is still lacking some titles. Tidal will probably lower their pricing next week.

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    Great news and good move from Qobuz, however I have a problem, I was a Sublime+ subscriber, expiring on Jan 29 2020

    I decided to subscribe to Studio Premier as I really don't do purchases but only  streaming. The system allowed me to do so but my card was charged $149.

    Now based on this page https://try.qobuz.com/faq-studio-premier/ it seems they should "discount" the remaining value of your subscription in my case almost 3 months and apply this to the new subscription therefore the charge should not have been the full subscription value of $149

     

    Has anyone experienced the same issue?

     

     

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    never mind there is a statement

    If you subscribe to Sublime+ for another 12-months at $249.99 before Nov.30, 2019, we will issue you a refund based on the value of your plan on the day you switched to the new price. Refunds will be issued starting Dec. 9, 2019.

    Which basically confirms there will be a refund (one month from now)

     

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    Glad you wrote this, @The Computer Audiophile! I was about to post about this in the dedicated Qobuz thread.

     

    Happily, given his promotion of Amazon's (inferior, IMO) lossless streaming, Neil said this about Qobuz's decision to drop MP3s: “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.”

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    I am an existing qobuz customer and just made the switch.  It was extremely easy once I logged in and my subscription was pro rated so I'm good to go.  Great music at a great price.....good time to be an audiophile.

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    5 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

    Looking for more details.

     

    I'd be greatly interested in knowing this. I'd much rather use a French account.

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    The thIng that puts me off the service is playlists and stations.

    Amazon and Apple for a general music listening just seem to do this so much better.

    Every time I try it it just seems very french and I just exit the door very quickly.

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    As I see it this is a limited offer and targeted at the US market only. I’m living in Europe and when I look at my qobuz account there is no option to switch.

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    "When the price to take a chance on better sound is less than a single pot of tea per month "

     

    Wow! How much is tea in America?  Over $12.50 for a pot of tea? 

     

    The limited period for which this Qobuz offer has been made and the limited number of subscribers that it will apply to suggests to me that this is only a test by Qobuz to establish what effect it may have on subscription numbers rather then necessarily a full time change or something that will necessarily apply in Europe.  They have left a loophole to revert to the old prices should it not produce what it required i.e. an increase in subscriber volume that outweighs the loss of income per head.

    When  Qobuz dropped prices earlier, around the time of the USA operation commencing, us Europe subscribers were swiftly  sent an email offering a way of taking advantage of the new prices. Nothing in my mailbox this morning aside from their normal weekly new releases flyer though ☹️. I will see what Monday brings.

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