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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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    1 minute ago, Forehaven said:

    I've tried everything.

    I can't remember but you may need to wait for a confirmation email from Qobuz.

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    5 minutes ago, Forehaven said:

    LOL  First thought too Chris.  I've tried everything.  I can log onto the Qobuz webpage perfectly, but not on webplayer nor Roon.  I guess I'll shoot QB an email.

    Thanks bud!

    Chris

    Happy to see you signed up. It’s truly a music lovers dream. 
     

    Hope it gets sorted soon. 

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    If there is no parity between US and non-US markets, this may be a bit of an own goal for Qobuz in some areas.

     

    I still purchase most of my music on CD, largely because it is usually cheaper than downloads, but I've always had a streaming service for music discovery. I had Qobuz a good while ago but it didn't suit me, not enough choice of what I wanted although I still buy downloads from there occasionally. I tried the new Amazon offering and the music is good but I don't like the interface. So I'm still with Spotify, willing to change, yet resentful of the fact that I would have to pay a premium just because of geography.

     

    If the European pricing changes, I'm in, otherwise I'll stick with Spotify.

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    It is going to be interesting to see how things go with the various streaming services.  Who will be next to provide lossless, is there enough space in this market for all of the available choices, will there be some intriguing mergers?  Will Apple or Google care enough to change?

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    @dmackta like @rickca I haven't received an email about this new pricing system(BRAVO! for it) and I have had Qobuz since it became available and also had a France address/account for years( with an address of Oneida,New France no less-this is what the Northeast USA would have been called if the French had won on the Plains of Abraham!!--always thought this was pretty cheeky of you)

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    @dmackta @rickca @Forehaven never received that email just went to my account and signed up essentially cost me 137$ which is about 11.42$/month so about 46% price reduction from the 25$/month i was paying not bad at all and better than reduction in price i think than the yearly TIDAL offering

    great job qobuz

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    On 11/8/2019 at 2:13 PM, Boy Howdy said:

    How does Qobuz rate on the musicians' compensation ranking?

      As far as I can tell, like everything else, it works out for the celebrities, and the artists who are picked by the labels to sponsor (instant celebrities), but the people who really keep the art on edge and creating new ideas are left out. There seems to be no clear solution.

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    The offerings at Quobuz, for a person who is interested almost entirely in unpopular music, are frankly poor.  I distrust Amazon as much as anyone, but if they make their product more usable, I will certainly change. With the price cut at Quobuz, I may hold on to my Amazon subscription too.

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    Definitely got me interested in Qobuz again.  This is the only service where my wife actually noticed a different sound on one of her favorite albums (Ryan Adams live at Carnegie Hall).  I am back on at the monthly $14.99 for now and can once again utilize my mothballed Audirvana license.    A few of my favorite titles are missing (all the Lumineer albums) but there is plenty more to listen to.  At this price I will keep my Spotify for music discovery and their superior playlists for background music.

     

    Thank you Amazon!

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    I subscribe to Sublime+, paid $299 in Jan 2019. However, I am one to buy music I like, and if available I would generally buy the hi res version. With Sublime+'s discount for hi res, which often means cheaper than even redbook quality, I have effectively saved more money than the subscription price. 

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    On 11/9/2019 at 7:38 PM, Enjay said:

    If there is no parity between US and non-US markets, this may be a bit of an own goal for Qobuz in some areas.

     

    Yes - as a very happy subscriber to the French and then the UK sites for many years I'm feeling a bit hacked off about this.

     

    It would surely have been reasonable to expect Qobuz to advise their long time customers here in Europe about what their plans are for us at the same time as these changes are announced for US subscribers.

     

    Maybe I'm being unreasonably impatient, but my loyalty to Qobuz is pretty stretched right now!

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    On 11/9/2019 at 11:42 AM, The Computer Audiophile said:

    Happy to see you signed up. It’s truly a music lovers dream. 
     

    Hope it gets sorted soon. 

     

    Well, I hate to say it but 100,000 is still a rounding error in the market today and the price has dropped because high resolution is very hard sell. 

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    14 minutes ago, Rt66indierock said:

     

    Well, I hate to say it but 100,000 is still a rounding error in the market today and the price has dropped because high resolution is very hard sell. 

    Inside every cloud is a black lining huh? 

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    The price of Studio Premier in US is attractive.
    However, please note that if you move from European account to US account, you may lose some tracks. (Especially classic fans)
    When I transferred a classic playlist created with my European account to US account, it only met 90% of tracks in that playlist. (I used Soundiiz for transfer)
    There are differences in tracks that can be streamed and purchased with accounts in each country.
    You may also encounter this issue when move from US account to another country.
    Therefore, I abandoned moving to Studio Premier of US account.

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    4 hours ago, Masterstroke said:

    According to todays What Hi-Fi this offer is available to UK users, but no mention of the rest of the EU

      Studio Premier will only be .textClipping 5.54 kB · 25 downloads

    Thanks for highlighting this. To be honest, though, I’m not sure where they’re getting this information.

     

    It’s interesting that most of the discussion is about the price drop, which may or may not happen here in Europe. But they’re also saying loud and clear that MP3 is no longer fit for purpose. I think they’d have a big problem if these changes don’t apply to other territories because the implication would be that MP3 is not good enough for US subscribers but perfectly good enough for the rest of their customers.

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